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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 441

Day 3081 - 12/7 - Rain returns

Today was okish. The morning went pretty quickly. I don't even really remember it. I know I was not doing my homework type assignments that I was supposed to do because I just wasn't feeling it. I continued to mess around with shows until the early afternoon.

In the afternoon I did do my assignments. They weren't as bad as I expected, and only took about an hour. Which I was expecting 2-3 hours or more, so that's good.

It was the last Wednesday class I TA for and I helped, but not very much. It was ok, I guess.

The rain is back, and with that the cold seems to bite. Hopefully the rain will help keep some warmth in, but it looks like it might get extra cold and sad very quickly. But still, I hope tomorrow is a better day.

Day 3082 - 12/8 - Free pizza

Today was ok I suppose. The morning was the final regular day for the main class I TA for, so while it was somewhat stressful indirectly it was also super fun.

The afternoon was pretty slow and a bit sad feeling. I didn't really play games, instead preferring to just watch shows or futz around looking at news stuff.

In the evening there was the first meeting for a new film club. I wasn't going to go, as I'd passed on the film club in previous years, but the professor I TA for was the one who invited me, and there was free pizza, so I decided to go. It was ok though they really didn't accomplish anything.

After the meeting though it seemed like I made a difference. Someone was there asking about what classes to take and general questions about professors and some other stuff, so I think I helped her a lot and she seemed to get excited about things. So hopefully I made a difference by being there. I always hope to make a difference and be helpful with things I do, but I seem to repeatedly pick things where I don't seem to get recognition, pay, or in most cases even any kind of acknowledgement. But I hope what I do makes a difference.

As always I try to watch for opportunities for change, and hope for a better tomorrow.

Day 3083 - 12/9 - Peeing and farting

Today was passable. In my movie watching class we watched a pretty slow and boring kung-fu movie, which was more talking than anything else.

One odd thing is that, for a few days now, I suppose as long as I've been sneezing with this cold, I've been peeing about double normal and farting a lot. I haven't been drinking much more than normal, certainly not a 1-1 ratio with the pee increase, so it seems very curious. I don't suppose it is anything to worry about, but it is an oddity.

It seems strange that another quarter is coming to a close and yet I am basically required to stand still. I suppose I am changing where I can though, and with what I have, and my positions of helping I am actually happier with these aspects of my life now than much of my life before. It's just that there are many things still missing in my life which makes me sad, and I wonder if I'll ever have them back in my life again. Until they are, I continue to try and hang on, and hope for a better tomorrow.

Day 3084 - 12/10 - Missed lunch

Today really wasn't special. The only really noteworthy thing was I was supposed to meet someone for lunch - the person I'm editing for - and since I hadn't heard from them by 12:15 - our last contact was 2 days ago - I assumed she wasn't going to make it. I'm not a spur of the moment guy these days. I need to make plans in advance, and no such plans were made. She asked to meet tomorrow, but again no time was set, so I don't know when we'll meet.

I suppose I never was a big fan of unstructured or vague plans. If I'm going to do a thing I do the thing. I guess I just kind of expect people to respect and follow that rule. It seems I don't know if I'd say disrespectful to say hey let's maybe do this thing and then not set a specific day and time, but it doesn't seem right to not commit.

I suppose the day wasn't really all bad. But again it was tough to fight the sadness of the things I don't have and can't do. I tried to focus on what I do have, but...

All I can do is hope things get better, and tomorrow is a better day.

Day 3085 - 12/11 - Lost 3 hours; banana peel

Today started off kind of crazy, then turned lame. The friend person got back to me about meeting for lunch. At first I was excited, as she said a time that within a reasonable eating time I should have been back at the library before they opened, leaving the rest of my day to be productive.

But that didn't happen, and it doesn't surprise me. First, she was a full hour late. An hour I was basically unable to do anything but wait for her. So right off the bat I'm behind. But I tried to stay calm. I tried to be ok with it. But then she spent less than five minutes talking about the project. I don't mind talking and catching up, but she eats way too slow, and the place she wants to go to takes way too long to serve you. So by 45 minutes after we got there I was done eating and more than ready to go. But she kept eating, kept being slow, and just dragging and dragging. So I lost another 45 minutes waiting.

By the time we were leaving she picked up that I was being very quiet and upset. She asked what was wrong and I was like, 'I'd really like to get back. I've lost 2.5 hours now.'

I don't know if I'll do another meeting like that. Even just the 1.5 hours to eat and talk is way too much, not even counting the hour lost waiting for her.

By the time I got in and settled at the library it was about 3.5 hours lost in total from when I left school and started doing nothing but lose time waiting. And once I was settled in it was in a bad spot in the library, somewhere tons of people were around me, tons could see my screen, meaning I had to be extremely selective of what shows I watched or games I played.

Not counting that, I was thrown off kilter so much I was put in a bad mood and unable to even consider doing the school work or studying I expected to do. And I had basically half the time to do it due to the short library hours and losing those hours to lunch.

I suppose it did get me some monies, but even if we say I would be worth $15 an hour I lost most of what I made during that non-productive time.

My only redeeming quality of today, besides getting a little bit of money to put in the bank, is someone was eating in the library. When he was done he put the banana peel half under the desk on a swing arm. I don't understand how the librarian about 10 feet from him didn't see, or the returning book librarian who was going back and forth didn't see it. On any other day I'd have called him out while eating, but today I let it slide. Today I left it as an inside joke to see how long it would take them to notice and clean the trash. About 2.5 hours later, when the library closed, they still hadn't seen it. And I suppose it helped amuse me and bring a little joy to an otherwise wasted and stressful day.

As always, I hope tomorrow is a better day.

Day 3086 - 12/12 - Keeping it

Today was worse, and better, than expected. It was worse in that I did really badly on my final. I for sure missed three questions out of 20, so I probably won't get higher than a C or B- on the final. I don't know how much of the grade it is, but hopefully it won't hurt me too much.

The surprise is that our binder we work on for the quarter, which I've talked a bit about before, it was the thing the budget gave me a massive headache; was one she wanted to keep as a future example. I guess, even though I don't feel overwhelmingly great about it shows actual thought and planning in the work that is there. It's a weird thing. It's not an exact science. And without having actual people, locations, etc., where I'd get actual factual data to base things on it's very difficult to predict or feel validated with what estimates you are doing. But I feel good, and proud, to be among the like 8% or so of class that was picked. (I saw her leaving the building with only three binders total. The rest were given back.)

Outside of that the day was ok. But in the evening when most had left it started to feel odd. There was a wind whistling in the building through the doors, and a chill air following. It felt like I was alone somewhere, a place with ghosts, or monsters that would manifest. And briefly I felt comforted, as in such a world I would feel like I would have clear goals and direction. But here in the regular world I don't. I am lost and I feel like I have no place and little to offer. And it feels so often like I'm doing everything wrong, or am simply undesirable, and that is why I don't have friends or a sweetie. But I hope she is out there... somewhere. And that I do someday have friends to do and play stuff with once more who I truly respect and like the company of.

But until then all I can do is try and hang on and hope for better days.

Day 3087 - 12/13 - Helping early

Today should be fun. It's the final for the main class I TA for, but there is still some stuff to watch, so that should be super fun.

It's earlyish, about 20 minutes until the test, but I've already helped a few people. So I feel super helpful and positive and I'm looking forward to helping all the people next quarter. (Though that's still three weeks away.)

Hopefully today should be a good day. But I always hope to someday return to a normal and truly happy life.

Week 442

Day 3088 - 12/14 - Empty

Yesterday and today had a bit of an odd turn. My brain was normal in the morning both days, but around 11 AM on both days it's like my brain just completely shut down. I don't know if it's relief from stress, or a side effect of the sneezy cold I have, or what. But it's like my memory stopped recording. I have tiny bits and pieces for both days. And memory retrieval stopped working. If you would ask me anything there was a chance I simply wouldn't remember.

I guess it's fine. I zombied my way through most of a paper that I'll finish tomorrow, but outside of that there really was no reason for my brain to work. I was doing nothing new. I was taking in no new information or instructions.

I guess maybe my brain has just started as much of a vacation as it can get, since lack of money means lack of opportunity for a physical vacation. And that will continue through the like 3.5 weeks of break.

For me it will just be 3.5 weeks mostly at the library. I expect no crackling fire. No Xmas cards. No tree. No gifts under the tree. No visits from friends or relatives. Just the day to day events in a public location which remains the same year 'round.

Without sudden unexpected large change this will be another year's end and winter festival time I miss by seeing little to no evidence of its being. There may be a few well wishers. There may be a few cards. There may even be a few presents. But mostly I will try and hang on to my few happy memories of years past, and hope those times return in the future.

Day 3089 - 12/15 - Slightly more focused

Today I was slightly more focused than the past few days. I fine tuned the paper for my final and tried to study, but it's just a jumble of facts and stuff that doesn't stick.

I suppose the day was ok. I didn't play much. I played for probably less than an hour. I do have a few games I really do enjoy playing, but I am still sad from all the things and don't feel much like playing. I suppose lately in the back of my mind I am remembering previous Xmas times when I could play my new games over Xmas break and have happy times; times which are now sad memories because I have lost the ability to do that. And while I may still be gifted a few games at Xmas time, the way and amount I can play them will be limited.

But while things are sad, they are not all bad. And I continue to try and focus on what I do have, hold my head up as much as I can, and hope for better days.

Day 3090 - 12/16 - Emptied

Today felt sad. School emptied out pretty quickly. Most everyone was gone by 3, and after it was a bit odd feeling to still be around. It felt sad leaving. Though most of the people actually aren't going anywhere. In fact, most who I actually talk to regularly will be in classes that I am in or classes I'm TAing for.

I guess I feel sad because I don't really talk to anyone outside of school. But I suppose in a way it's better to have no one in real life that I talk to outside of school than people I'm not really interested in being friends with glomming on to me. There are a few who would if given the chance, so I'm grateful that doesn't happen.

I suppose too it's because I miss helping. That's my biggest fear finding a job (besides my simply not liking it.) That it would be where I'm not in a position to genuinely help people doing something I, and maybe they, would enjoy doing.

But I must keep going forward. Even if I don't know what it is I'm heading for, I do know what feels right, and what feels wrong. And I trust that Fate will guide these feelings towards where I need, and want, to be. And until I arrive, I will try to hang on to happy thoughts and hope for better days.

Day 3091 - 12/17 - Starting sad

Today seemed extra sad. I suppose it was in great part due to it being the first day of 3.5 weeks I'll be at the library. I will be able to watch shows and movies, and play some games (save for some which are firewalled). But without TAing, without the people I know at least around me, it seems like it will be sad times.

Plus it is extremely cold. I hope it is just some kind of cold front since the rain stopped. But it's cold, like it's late January. It's a bad sign if it's going to get colder.

As always, I try to hang on and hope for better days.

Day 3092 - 12/18 - Fun game; 20 years

Today was a bit of an odd surprise, and a fun every other week game. The morning was difficult though, as my outside time is extremely cold now. But the game was super fun. Before the game though there was something very odd. Someone came in to the shop with two little ones, probably younger than 10; someone I haven't seen in about 20 years. At first I didn't recognize him. He simply looked oddly familiar. As he talked more it made sense. His height, his build, the voice. It was a person I've not seen in 20 years. And it's really been closer to about... wow... like 30 years since we were friends and last hung out. There was a bit of bad blood, a falling out. He blamed me for several bad things in his life. And in years after we'd parted, hearing that I was sad. I don't know if those are things I can ever really forgive myself for. Not that they were terribly bad, but they were bad enough; yet they were mistakes of youth, things I wouldn't have chosen to do now. So I said nothing. I just watched what he did and listened. He seemed happy. He seemed like a good father. But everyone else who was not interacting with him seemed invisible to him. He certainly didn't see or recognize me. Maybe I'm glad of it. I may never know.

But the game was super fun. We were put in the back room though, which was a bit stinky from miniature work, and loud due to other games around us. But we had a visitor; the roomie of the DM. She is suuuper cute and attractive. And she smiled and giggled at a few things my character said and did. But she has a boyfriend, so that's sad for me. But it gives me hope that maybe out there somewhere is a sweetie for me.

Not really much else to say about the day. Besides being super cold and the odd old friend passing by it was a pretty regular every other Sunday game day. I got a shower at school, then killed a few hours outside of school before heading over to the afternoon game.

Tomorrow will be my first weekday at the library. It will be difficult to remember I can't choose micro food for lunch and dinner. But it should be warm, and I can connect to almost all my regular things without issue.

And while I hope tomorrow will go well, I will always hope for better days.

Day 3093 - 12/19 - Surprise presents

Today was more tolerable than I thought it would have been. It started with a shower at school. I looked around and there were quite a few cars in the lot. Double checking online it looks like school administration will be open through Thursday, which may mean the cafeteria is partly open. At least enough that probably tomorrow and Thursday I'll go ahead and micro an early lunch before the library opens.

Time passed moderately quickly as I watched shows and played a little bit of a game, maybe an hour of gaming. I still am pretty sad about all the things.

I was right about it probably being some kind of odd cold front thing. Checking the temperature online it shows the rest of the week's coldest point would be about 5 degrees warmer. So hopefully it will stay that way, as 40F is already way too cold for me.

The biggest surprise was three packages waiting for me at the ex-house. I opened them, figuring they were surprise Xmas things and I was right. They are all from the person who's been watching out for me, which is not a surprise. He hasn't sent a donation since I said I would be ok on money. I kind of figured if anyone were to send Xmas things it would be him. And without letting me know in advance that he did, it was a big surprise.

Even though I guess it's only a few days now until official Xmas time, I've decided to keep things wrapped until then. (There were five things! One was unwrapped, which is maybe better, as it's small headphones for my mobile device. My old ones are pretty beaten up.) Even though they won't be under a tree, and I'll really only be able to visit them a few times before opening, they can be with my bunnies. And they are still nice presents. So that is something.

Today was good, but there are still so many sad things, so I continue to hope for better days.

Day 3094 - 12/20 - Not school

Today I was going to spend some time at school. It was indeed in its partially open state. But I got a chance to sleep in a bit. And there was a detour for picture taking and food buying, so by the time I got there if I had stayed until the library opened I would have only been there for about 30 minutes, 45 tops. So I figured with the time to unpack and repack it just wasn't worth it. I did micro my food and survey what seemed open on the way. It does seem viable for morning time before the library opens if I want that option.

I am very tired. I was pretty tired last night after about 5. I think my body is still beaten up by my sneezy cold and trying to rest as much as it can.

I am super stressed though. Last night I twisted wrong and it felt like someone punched me in the side / kidney, and my shoulder cramped, and I instantly lost possibly 50% of my strength in my arm on that side. Things recovered quickly though, maybe after 5 or so minutes of sitting and resting I was back to normalish. But I always worry about the frailty of my poor health. Without having a work to at least stretch and do mild exercise during my shifts, it has become very difficult to stay in some kind of shape. Maybe when it starts to warm up again I can consider some options.

It's chilly. It's still early before the library is open. Things are quiet and calm. There isn't a lot for me to look forward to today, just shows and games. But that is something. And it is more than I had at the start of this terrible journey. Yet I still worry that it will be lost again before the time is over. For now I try to hang on to hope, and wait for better days.

So nice the Xmas surprise presents!

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

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