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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 9: Fractures

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 423

Day 2955 - 8/3 - Preparing to game

Today I am mentally preparing to game. In more than one way. There have been a few games on really crazy sales this past week, so I've got two new ones that have been on my list forever, including one I think I mentioned already that arrived last weekend.

I am also mentally preparing for probably doing the game shop thing I've talked about. I printed some blank character sheets while I still had the chance at school. I'm starting to think up characters. But more planning would require the rule book and dice. I'm giving serious thought about getting those in advance of playing, sort of as part of an early b-day celebration. But I worry about doing that. Last time I did that roughly 16 years ago I was homeless then too. And while that was back after selling my apartment and I had a bit of money, that eventually wound up being a source of sadness for which I still feel pain for to this day. I never did anything but read that rulebook alone and wonder. When I did get into a home, it did nothing but sit on a shelf for something like five years before I finally sold it.

I am thinking too if I do get back into gaming I may do some tiny art. I used to do it for games I played back in the day. I'd take 3x5 cards and draw items; weapons, armor, potions, whatever equipment I had that would be helpful to be reminded of. Or more often the case, since I GMed, to pass out to players with an item description.

I wonder if I can draw at all well. I remember thinking I was decent at some things, but when I last did that I was a teenager, so my expectations were much lower.

So I have games waiting now, as I have games I've not finished with new ones not yet played. And I have the potential for being in a pen and paper game with people. Though I'm unsure if I should get my supplies for that now, to potentially prepare, or wait until it is at least closer to being a reality than something that may or may not happen.

There is some chat on the social game sites that I've joined, so that is something. I don't know if that alone would lead to change, but it is a first step. And there seems some positivity there, which is something I don't see all that often.

Day 2956 - 8/4 - Forgotten

Today was apparently forgotten. I seem to have not written, so I am writing Friday.

I had my eye appointment. It went fine. Everything is as expected. I bought contacts for the year, so that's good. In theory I should still basically be on track to have money for the next two years.

It was the last day of classes as far as I know. There were some around, but not many. I'm not sure if I will go to school over the summer break or not. While the library has limits due to the firewall blocking some things, it is more civilized. And being there isn't as out of place as being on a closed campus. The days I've visited so far it's only about 1/3 or 1/4 as full as the other months. Perhaps because all the kids that would otherwise be around are off doing summer things.

It was sad that things ended. Again I thought how strange it was to be there when everyone else was gone or moving on. But it must continue. It is the best option in an otherwise few to no option situation.

Day 2957 - 8/5 - A game

Today I went to the library. It was pretty dead there, so no one was too close to me, and there really wasn't any annoying noise. I still don't know if I'll be there or at school while it's closed. I guess I'll see what's still open and how many are around at school when there are no classes.

I have officially agreed to an every other week game at a game store. It's not super close, but it's every other week, so that will balance out. The first one is this Sunday, so we'll see how it goes then. It's always weird to play with people you've never met, and who's style you don't really know if you'll match. But like all things, the best way to find out is to try.

Day 2958 - 8/6 - Excited

Today was pretty exciting. After spending the last day or two seeing if I could find the game book I decided to see what extra cost there would be to just rush ship it, and would it make it before tomorrow's game. To my surprise it was only $5 in shipping to rush since someone has me under their shipping plan, so it arrived the same day as my new dice.

I spent much of today thinking and planning my character for the game. It's really all up front stuff. After this I likely won't do more with the character until probably a few weeks, maybe months. Though I may sort of work on a few other characters for other play.

It's exciting to possibly be in a game with people. I won't know what it will be until it happens, but hopefully it will be good. And, if not, well I'm ready to try again with others. So far the people seem nice as we've talked on the social network.

Hopefully I can sleep ok tonight. Last night I had a lot of trouble sleeping.

New dice. Super good price for such nice colors!

All the important rules.

Day 2959 - 8/7 - Roll the dice

Today was quite different. I spent the morning kind of fixating more on preparing for the game. Unlike most I like to have knickknacks and counters and notes to remind me of all the things. Sadly my mini art is actually really bad. It's great for someone who's 12, but since I'm not 12 anymore for the more important things I may just want to find some art online I can use and pay to get a nice print out for the things I'd repeatedly use. But I got to the place super early around 12:30. I prepared for the drive to be half an hour or more, but it actually only took 15 to 20 minutes. Again, it's further than I'd like to go, but at every other week that would be about $15 a month, which while bad, isn't completely intolerable right now.

I was glad everyone seemed to get along fine and our characters seemed to work together ok. I played a class I don't normally play, but it worked out great because he's a helper, and one time when he helped it actually completely reversed a situation and was super helpful. The next game isn't set until two weeks from now on the weekend of my birthday, so that is a bit sad since it was super fun.

Being in a group playing with people again was strange, particularly since I did not know them before hand. But they seemed like good people so everyone got along and we had a good time. I'm still concerned about the distance in terms of wear and tear on the car, as well as the gas with no income, but for now it seems to be left to Fate and a roll of the dice if it works out.

Day 2960 - 8/8 - Constant annoyance

Today for some reason the library was super crowded. Also for some reason people around me were super annoying most of the day. It started with the lady on the other side of my table. For some reason instead of actually stepping out to eat lunch like a normal person she would take a single bite, then be crunch crunch crunch for a full minute. She repeated this every five minutes. After about an hour I couldn't take it anymore and said, 'If you don't stop incessantly crunching it's going to drive me insane.' Maybe rude, but after her sneaking food constantly for over an hour in a place she isn't supposed to be eating I felt it was fair compared to telling the library and possibly getting her kicked out. She moved a few minutes later. I guess for whatever reason she felt it was impossible to just go downstairs and eat all at once.

After that several people again had munching crunching pop slurp slurp sounds with those drinks with the balls. It was almost non-stop for about five hours because of all those various people. Not to mention a couple who set up what was like a full dinner setup on a foot stool seat cushion behind me.

I guess it was ok after that. I am sad because my bank sent a low account balance warning. I've already blown through the first portion of the monies. I guess it's not too surprising, as I estimated with everything I would probably not make it much past September before running out. So I've maybe over spent by a couple hundred. But that is for everything; all the extra video games, all the pen and paper games I've gotten, all the extra food, etc.

But now I worry. I feel like I'm already going to have to crack down on myself and start overly fixating on the budget and keeping very close and being very strict. Which I didn't really want to do, but with a finite amount of money I kind of have to.

Day 2961 - 8/9 - Chaotic

Today things still feel chaotic. I could have been at school for a bit, I'm sure, as Monday through Thursday they are theoretically a little bit open during the day, but after my shower it just didn't seem worth it. I had less than an hour, so I'd have to cross campus, unpack, go in, set up, and then take it all down again and go back out. So by the time it was all done there would have probably only been about half an hour left.

So I'm killing time outside of the library until it opens. While I am grateful for my car still (so very much) doing this seems to do little more than remind me of the chaos of my life. I think of things I'd want and like to do today, how I could have otherwise already been doing some of them in a home. I think of how I would still prefer to have actual friends to game with (instead of the other way around where by gaming with strangers I may eventually make friends.)

I think of the freedoms I do have without a job, the freedoms I'd have with a job, what would be different if I did, where would I live, if somewhere not in this area where would I live, what would that be like. And I wonder; if my life were 'normal', if I had a job, if I had a home, maybe a sweetie and friends, would they all be different in a better way? Or would they be as before; where I felt unappreciated, my skills wasted at my job, and in spite of what I did, no one seemed to care.

Week 424

Day 2962 - 8/10 - Chaotic feelings

Today was better in the library. There were only a few people who bothered me. It's still weird to be there, though it is a much more normal and comfortable lifestyle.

But I am excited to have an opportunity for a few pen and paper games going on. I have a different potential one starting Saturday, which is a 'seasonal' thing, so it is only a commitment for something like four months if I stick with it, then I can continue or stop. We'll see how that goes, as it's a different kind of game.

But I feel weird about it. I am just starting and I am already worrying I'll run out of money and lose the chance to do it, and what then? Which is odd to think about because that is likely two years off. Anything can happen in that time. But I've felt such pain and so much loss for so long, finally finding something again... I can't help but worry about the loss of it as so much around me is still unstable.

Day 2963 - 8/11 - Library book

Today was not as different as I'd thought it would be. I showered at school and originally thought I'd stay to micro food, but my tummy just wasn't ready for an early lunch, nor did I want to micro something only to leave it in the car for a few more hours before eating it. So in terms of food, it was just another day at the library.

I decided to check out a book for the game I'm getting into. They have three main books. I don't at all regret getting the player's book, as I've used it every day since I've gotten it, sometimes for several hours, and I've probably only really read about half of it.

Sadly the important other book I'm considering getting has been checked out, and it's overdue, so I can only check that out if I request it from a different library. I may do that eventually. I'd only need it if I were to make my own campaign, which if I were to do that I'd probably need to buy it to have constant access, which is fine.

But the new hobby, which is actually the oldest hobby, has kept me quite distracted. And in addition to that, there has been chat on the social group for that, so I may eventually make more connections and find more groups and other things. Like someone is considering a painting figures day. Which would be really great when I get my gnome bard mini that I special ordered, as I'd not otherwise have any way to paint him without a very high investment.

One odd thing I'm sort of worrying about is that it seems when I'm not sitting in a chair the side of my left leg, from about just past my pelvis to just above my knee feels like odd tendrils of ice somewhat commonly. It's as if the circulation is being pinched off somewhere. I guess if it keeps happening after a month or so I'll see a doctor maybe. So far it's only been happening for a week, so who knows what may be currently going on that is causing it.

Being in the library is super odd. I'm surrounded by people, yet talk to no one. And I wouldn't really want to. It just seems weird to be in a place where I really expect no interaction. But, as always, I am thankful I have such places to be.

Day 2964 - 8/12 - More to the hip

Today I am so very sleepy. It was one of those days where I had maybe one or two hours of fun and the rest was like a blur, a shadow of a memory of what was going on.

I did notice there is much more going on than just my odd hip pain. It's actually there all the time, just more subtle. Additionally, my lower back, all across my shoulders, and at the base of my left shoulder blade specifically, I feel similarly stiff, hurting, and pulled, like on the side of my leg. So it is likely just my lack of sleeping lately, or stress related to burning an extra 15% or so than I expected and running out a few months earlier than this batch would have otherwise. I still have two more checks, basically each should last a year (after counting a bit more for tax returns.) It's just the initial amount running out quickly has stressed me out and caused me to have a bit of an extreme pain reaction. Hopefully soon things will even out. Plus I'll try to maybe do some stretches. Not being able to stretch or work out like I used to, plus an extreme lack of regular vegetables, is likely just again taking a toll on me.

I suppose today was ok, though again the eight hours at the library felt more like maybe two. Tomorrow I have the first of what may be a weekly game (for a few months) so we'll see how that goes. For now I'll just try to relax, hope for enough sleep, hope I can decompress some of this stress, and try to make tomorrow a better day.

Day 2965 - 8/13 - Not my type

Today was very different. I spent just a tiny bit of time at school. The roof shade is even more shaded. The construction has now not only got the light mesh, but a second fence with a screen on it. So the area is extremely shaded. I do think on weekends too I'll still go to the library when I don't have games. There is enough for me to do since it only blocks a little of my gaming.

In the early afternoon I did my second pen and paper game type. It, as I was kind of afraid of, was not really my kind of thing. It wasn't really the fault of the game master or other players. It's just the way the event is designed. It's a contained thing that everyone can do within a certain time period. So it is kind of like a speed run with random people in an online game. There wasn't a connection between the players and each other's characters for a number of reasons. There really can't be. And because of needing to do x during a specific time window everything was really rushed and there really wasn't any reason for personal flavor, which is really the opposite of my preferred style.

So on the one hand that's good news, as I know what events to avoid. In the bad news that means I'm back to trying to find a special type of game people do if I want more than the every other Sunday one I already have. I may not find one because of how rare they are.

It was super hot today. I was overly warm and when I got to my car in the late afternoon / early evening after the game, my car was super hot. There were lots of really cute girls out though. There were even a few at the gaming place. So it may be the weather, but I take it as a reminder there may still be a someone out there for me and try to hang on to hope.

Day 2966 - 8/14 - Surprises

Today was kind of slow, but also kind of fast. My first surprise was in the morning. Sadly the shower area was closed, but the church group was here. So for the first time in I think a couple of weeks I got a microwaved food instead of having sandwiches all day. (Though I have had about two smaller fancy meals per week lately.)

The second surprise came later in the morning when I got word someone has sent me birthday somethings. It's the person who for the past few years has repeatedly saved me in times of need. If it weren't for his saving me several times, and sending help most months, and the emotional boost that came from that, I don't know how I'd have made it through the past few years.

Again I was more preoccupied with my new pen and paper gaming stuff than not. I can still read and learn lots of things from the book I have. As well as it being a game reference book, which I'll always use when I am doing game things.

While the day seemed slow as it passed, overall now as the sun is going down it felt fast. I am still very stressed in my back. Yesterday morning I was coughing so much I felt like I was going to throw up. I am hoping it was just additional stress and that will go away soon after my putting more of the benefit money in my bank in the morning. But it could be other things. I am so extremely tired. I've not slept well lately and I am barely keeping my eyes open. But hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

So nice an early b-day surprise!

Eeeeee for the rules to DM.

Day 2967 - 8/15 - Long day

Today felt like a long day, but in a good way. It started with presents, as the ones the person sent were waiting for me at the ex-house when I stopped by to check last night. So today I got some very nice things.

I dropped the next batch of monies into my account, so that is nice and safe now. With it I spent just a tiny bit more on stuff for my new pen and paper game. I got a binder, a few clear pages to put character stuff in, and a zipper pouch to put my counters in. When I got to the library I printed some stuff I've been needing to print, made a few more counters, and put it all away. I like to have the counter things out in front of me when doing pen and paper games as it reminds me of things I can do I'd otherwise forget.

After that I played my online game just for a very short while. The people I used to play with are basically never on anymore. It's been a month since I've seen one of them, and maybe two or more since I've seen the other. So more and more being there is becoming a source of sadness. I'll have to decide to continue without them, continue as I am just peeking in for dailies, or take a break myself and show up less often. I haven't decided yet.

After, there was a game I kind of really wanted to play, but for some reason it said it needed to go online to update. Which seemed just insane to me, as that is a connection that's firewalled at the library, so if it can't get through the firewall how does it know it needs an update? It seemed very confusing. Since I couldn't do what I wanted, I just spent the rest of the night watching a show I'd normally watch over 3-4 days all at once. (It's 3-4 hours per show once a week.)

So all in all it was a pretty good day. It still seemed sad as I was not in a home. I could not control the blinds, the temperature, or the chair (since it's a rigid wooden one), the games I did or did not have access to, and the printing I did was not on my own printer. (So I had to make counters by taping things to other things instead of printing directly on card stock.) But for what my life is, it was actually a pretty good day.

Day 2968 - 8/16 - School visit

Today I am visiting school. It will be much easier to update my site since the firewall at the library blocks it, otherwise I'd have to do a pain in the butt roundabout way.

Though some things are open until about five it would seem weird to be here until then. Ever since that 'Officer Dong' was an ass to me it's felt weird being here on days they are only partly open. (His actual, and seemingly appropriate, name.) Did I tell the people the story? It was one of the flea market Saturday mornings; a time when they are always partly open in the area I'm in. So I was chilling as usual, either playing a game or watching a show, I forget which, and he comes up to me and he's all, 'Hey. Are you supposed to be here?' Not a friendly hello, not checking in with others about my being there, just a flat out direct challenge. I replied, 'Uhhh... what?' And he said, 'It's Saturday. We're closed.' And I was like, 'Um... no. School is always partly open on Saturdays, particularly flea market days, as they partly open for people to use the ATM, and the coffee shop around the corner is open.' And the coffee shop is literally about 40-50 feet away around the corner, probably about 20 feet away from the entrance to the police area. So it just blew my mind that this guy was so oblivious to what is going on normally, not to mention the other half dozen in the building around me. Of all the police and student security that one guy was the only one who's ever been mean to me.

But I'll stay for maybe just about an hour. Just long enough for this, to update the game, then micro a lunch on my way out. It won't be the best to leave it for like an hour before eating, but I picked one up that should be ok, so hopefully it will be a pretty good day.

Edit: It's now about 4.5 hours after the initial writing. Nearly all of that time was lost attempting to do a windows update. For some reason it got stuck at 22% and stayed there for several hours. I saw somewhere online that said to leave it, as many got stuck for hours then continued, but after 3 hours stuck at that point I gave up and restarted the system. It has reverted to the previous windows version and I'll try updating again later, but I am now very worried it's going to have issues updating like it did with the initial Windows 10 update. I guess I will only know the answer to that in time, but for now things have reverted and are fine, and I continue to hope the rest of my day will be a good day.

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

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