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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 10: Wisp of Hope

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 513

Day 3585 - 4/25 - Not Thursday

Today was weird feeling. In the morning I was super sneezy. I must have sneezed once every 15 minutes for probably almost six hours. I was still destroyed from the lost sleep, so I'm still totally exhausted. In fact, for some odd reason I knew it was Wednesday when I got to my spot on campus, but I almost immediately forgot and started thinking it was Thursday for the next like three hours.

Yesterday confirmed that my friend who promised to help pay for classes just forgot and flaked. She apologized, but seemed to make no offer to help with other bills. So I expect that help will not come.

But my friend online who is watching over me sent help later in the day, so I will soon be able to pay for the web things. I'll have to not pay for the security things for the moment, but I can add them back on later. But the critical part will be covered for the year, and that's what counts. But there are still other things just around the corner, so there are still things to be worried about.

But I will try to hold on to hope more help will come. I try to focus on the good things that remain. And hopefully I can make it to my forever better days.

Day 3586 - 4/26 - Totally exhausted

Today I'm feeling totally and completely exhausted again. I think it's because of my cold or allergies. Whatever it is that has me sneezing. I was ok up until about noon, but from then on I really couldn't focus, and it felt like three times longer than it was. I feel like I've been up for two days at least, with no passage of daylight or night.

I guess the day was technically ok. Nothing bad happened, and I played a bit and watched some shows. But I felt concerned about the bills, so that made me sad. And I feel horribly fat and slow, so that makes me worry about death. But I still have my car. I still have most of my health, with the hope of recovery if I get back in a home. And most important to my emotional state, I still have my laptop and games.

So I try to continue to see what is good. I try to stay distracted, and try to allow myself at least a moment free from worry and stress. And I try to hang on to hope that help and opportunity will come, and I can hang on long enough to make it to my forever better days.

Day 3587 - 4/27 - Stinky sick

Today I feel pretty sick. In addition to my normal sniffling and sneezing, I've had a pretty bad headache, eye pain, and now I feel both full and like I'm going to throw up.

I got a shower this morning, so I started out smelling ok, but all I smell now is the stink of my socks. I finally have money to do laundry, so that will hopefully clear it all up. But tonight I'll try and find an at least less stinky pair, along with some less stinky pants. Hopefully that will help me to feel less like I have bags of garbage on my feet.

I guess besides feeling sick and stinky today was ok. I played my game and tried to have fun, but I was a bit dizzy feeling, likely another symptom of my cold. But I was settled in to my spot. A few said hi. And I was restful and calm, so that was something at least.

So I try to hang on to the good thoughts. I try to continue to hope that help and donations will come in time to pay for all the things. And hopefully I can make it to better days.

Day 3588 - 4/28 - Finally a wash

Today was pretty sad. I was so tired I was falling asleep for a few seconds now and then. I was still pretty sneezy, though not as much as the past few days. I wore something less stinky, so at least there was that.

I saw something very sad leaving the library. There was some old sporty car, and inside was a kitty that looked very scared. Not in a carrier, just out in the car. As I got close and waved to the kitty I noticed the back seats and passenger seat were removed, there was bedding down, and a litter box behind the driver's seat. I'm glad the person and kitty are still together, but that is no way for them to live.

I am finally doing laundry. Though even doing the best per dollar option I still don't have spare for three pairs of pants, my hoodie, or the sweatpants I wear at night. Not counting any bedding or towels, which I knew I wouldn't be able to do. I suppose it's not all bad though. All my underwear, socks, shirts, and over shirts will get done, and a few pairs of pants. If I plan ahead I should be able to rotate things without too much repetition or stink for a month or two before things get too bad again. That is, of course, assuming all the stinkiness comes out of them. My laundry soap has mild to no smell, as it's allergy free, so I'll have to overload on dryer sheets for all the anti-stink smells.

But, as always, all I can do is hope. Hope the laundry turns out ok and is enough. Hope more help comes and I can take care of the bills. Hope to get enough sleep. Hope I can get over my cold, and eventually get into better shape. And hope I make it to forever better days.

Day 3589 - 4/29 - Finally clean

Today I am finally clean smelling. It's one of those things that becomes so much a part of you that you forget what it is to be 'normal' again and not have the bad thing anymore.

Partly because of that I was a bit sad today, but also I had bad bandwidth and a glare on my screen. It all just seemed reminders that my life is not normal and most things are beyond my control.

I suppose the day wasn't completely terrible. I had some food. I had some bandwidth, so I get to play a bit and watch shows. And some days that is all I can hope for.

So I try to look at the good things I have. I try to hang on to what there as that was positive. And I continue to hope help comes to cover the bills. And hopefully I can make it to better days.

Day 3590 - 4/30 - Returning

Today I felt pretty sad. The day has felt very odd in terms of time. Mostly it's felt like Tuesday, but at times felt like Wednesday or even Thursday. The week has just started and it already feels like so much time has passed it's half over.

My sadness is returning. I think for several reasons. First, this morning my preview of all the places in my MMO has ended. I had access for a little over a week now to the newest DLC areas that I don't otherwise have. I'd forgotten how sad it is to know I'm in an older area. There are still many people there, but all this morning the zones were completely silent. I think for about four hours played there was not more than one person saying one thing per hour.

Next, my laptop DVD cover is broken. I guess it's not really critical. Things work just fine without it. But when attempting to glue the broken piece it didn't hold. I guess the type of plastic prevented the glue I had from getting any kind of grip. And so when it flip-flops around, or simply falls out of place, that reminds me of my teeth. Several lost completely, several in broken states, and I don't know if I can ever replace them.

Third, my health overall is pretty bad. It is likely due to being off the meds for so long. My blood pressure and cholesterol levels are likely back to 'bad'. It's not directly life threatening, but often times it feels like I've got a tight sweater around my chest and arms. Breathing is a touch difficult if I'm doing anything other than sitting still. And if I'm walking and talking I get completely winded. It's not a good feeling. But without the "spare" $10 to make an appointment to see the doctor to get my prescriptions refilled there isn't anything I can do about it.

Lastly, the weather lately has again turned cold and there are rain clouds constantly looming overhead. I actually like rain. It calms me. It even helps me hide a bit. But I hate the cold. And the cold just reminds me of being cold and hungry and that so much is out of my control.

I think too I feel bad and sad because I didn't sleep all that well last night. I lost a few hours sleep and again had bad dreams.

But I try to hang on. I do still have my games. I do still have my shows. And while my health and food are not great, I am not yet dead. So there is still a chance for change. So I try to hang on physically, emotionally, and hope help comes financially, and hopefully I can make it to better days.

Day 3591 - 5/1 - The body

Today I am super tired. I lost a couple hours of sleep. I felt weird yesterday and last night. Not just with the time oddity, but like this or that had changed size or position. Not by a lot, maybe 10-15% here and there. Maybe there was a low level dizziness throwing off my equilibrium which caused that.

Holding my food bag this morning I was reminded of my bad pinch last quarter. There is still a small red spot on the pad of my paw, but along the finger if I didn't know where to feel for the difference in skin no evidence would be found. I suppose that is at least a reminder that given time and a chance I can recover. At least physically.

Though I am starting my day later than usual, it is still pretty early. I have just settled in to my spot and I don't know what the day will bring. All I hope for is quiet, calm, and access to my things to distract myself until opportunity comes. Hopefully help will come to cover the bills and I can hang on until then, physically and emotionally. And hopefully I can make it to better days.

Week 514

Day 3592 - 5/2 - Almost cried for food

Today was pretty sad for a number of reasons. First, I am still exhausted from both losing sleep a few nights ago, as well as still either being sick or having allergies. I'm still sneezing quite a bit.

The second sad thing was a confirmation that work from my professor likely isn't going to happen. She didn't say that directly, but indirectly by saying she 'called in sick' to stay home to edit things, which was the big thing she said she would probably have me doing. She was, for whatever reason, really hesitant to bring in the footage for me to work on. Since my car is super old, and she lives about 30 miles away through some of literally the toughest hills in this area of the state, I'd previously told her I'd prefer not to drive to her place since if the car had anything happen that required repairs I wouldn't have money for that. (And there would be no way she'd pay me enough to replace it should it die completely from strain.) So, without it being directly said, I am assuming the bulk of the work she originally said she might have for me won't happen.

The saddest thing today is that along with my exhaustion there is extra hunger. Which makes sense, as being awake for longer burns more energy, especially if I'm nervous or scared during those times. With only a few dollars left before my monthly money cycle, not only do I not really have enough for normal meals, I absolutely don't have enough to cover extra. So all day, and at about six different distinct times, I was so hungry that smelling other people's yummy cafeteria food that I enjoy made me nearly cry. I feel like a young child; exhausted, hungry, and confused because of the lack of control I feel in relation to the world around me.

There is something odd happening lately too. Yesterday and today, not a lot, maybe just a few times a day, I've smelt peanuts. Not like a distant faint whiff, but like I had them right up close in my lap. But the smell disappears as quickly as it happens. I'll have to try to remember to check online if that's a symptom of a neurological or otherwise bad condition that might be going on.

I suppose there was a good thing that happened. I paid my yearly web domain stuff. So that is now done and taken care of for the year, so that is a big weight lifted. Sadly there are more bills just around the corner. Well, I suppose just past since I'm technically now already past due on my car insurance. With the big car registration cost coming in about two and a half months if I remember correctly. And who knows how long these last couple of pair of contacts will last. They are supposed to be two weeks, but I am needing to make them last a month or more per pair. Hopefully within the next week I'll get some help for at least the car insurance. I'd really like to keep that under 15 days past, as that seems to be my safe margin.

I guess the day wasn't terrible though. I got to play my game and watch shows. The floor seemed extra restful and calm, and I was restful in my spot. And I suppose that is something these days. So I try to hold on to hope help will come in time. And I try to hang on until better days.

Day 3593 - 5/3 - Helping others

Today felt pretty sad. I played my game quite a bit, but today I decided to do some dungeons, which I haven't done in probably 1.5 years. I was quickly reminded why I stopped. People were very high level, but many had no clue what to do. One person, who was the tank, was max max level. Said like that because once you hit max level you can get an alternate gain beyond that, of which I'm not even max at 605 out of 720. And they had neither ever done the dungeon, nor really knew how to tank. It was mind boggling someone got a character to that point and they had never done either.

I did help someone earlier in the day before that. I explained how they were in a zone that was originally not designed for their level. (They were still basically in tutorial levels.) I talked a bit about their class options and to try different things out, and find a path in life that they like before warring too much about specific builds with race and class. They said knowing their options was a phrase their dad would us and they felt it was calming and reassuring that someone in game had said it to them as well.

I helped someone in an intro film class the other day too. She saw me in my spot and knew I'd helped someone else with the editing software before. I think I spent half an hour helping her. I really miss that. It's a shame I can't get a paid position being a helper, or even an unpaid one supported by the school.

Though upon reflection I maybe give too much of myself to others. In the three years I helped my professor unpaid I as only really thanked and appreciated a couple of times. Online helping on the forums I've really never been given anything. And recently the online dev post count has been disabled, making their presence seem much stronger than it actually is.

I guess today I am just sad that I can't really help, certainly not many. And when I do help, like today or the other day, when I am thanked and appreciated it makes me wonder why I haven't been able to get a position where that is paid, or at least rewarded in some way. I suppose it's mostly because there isn't really a degree or career path for such a thing. Certainly not main-stream in a recognized form, or even acknowledged really as a thing.

So I continue in obscurity. I hope I can continue to at least recognize what paths in life can make me at least a little bit happy, even though they may not be paid. And maybe someday I will find my way to one that is. But I have to continue to try and hang on. I have to continue to hope help will come in the meantime. And hopefully I can hang on, emotionally and financially, until better days.

Day 3594 - 5/4 - Slightly better

Today felt slightly better. School was quiet, almost completely abandoned. I saw fewer than half a dozen at all on the floor all day. Things were restful and I had enough food. Not at all really healthy for me, but enough.

I had a pretty good time in my game. I found a new thing for me to try and collect in an old area, so I have that I can focus on in addition to gathering resources for when the new content launches in a few weeks.

But there were no donations, and another day has come and gone where my bill is overdue and things are ticking down. But I try to hang on to hope help will come in time. And I try to continue to hope tomorrow will be a better day.

Day 3595 - 5/5 - Tiny baby spider

Today started off pretty good. It was super warm, even shorts weather warm. I kind of regretted not wearing shorts. When I got to the library and settled in, I noticed a tiny dot attached to a very thin thread, coming off of my water bottle. I squinted and saw the tiniest leg shapes. It was a tiny baby spider, smaller than the head of a pin. I got a napkin from my bag, put it near the spider, then gently blew them onto it. As I suspected, folding it closed was more than the tiny baby spider had the strength to climb to escape. I carried them outside, then blew them onto the ground near some plants. I saw them moving in the grass, so hopefully they will be ok and have a good life. It seems crazy to think a creature that small and fragile is expected to make it on its own.

I played my game and did some more random dungeons. Mostly people were pretty quiet, as those groups tend to be. One person died quite a bit, so we chatted about how they could maybe get better gear and I offered to craft them stuff if they had parts.

After lunch things took a bit of a turn. The weather turned gray and clouds came in, though as of now it hasn't yet rained. And by the early afternoon I was chilly enough to need my hoodie. In game things turned a bit too. Someone was complaining that my dps seemed low. They asked what number I was doing, and I said I didn't know. I checked years ago and it was fine and haven't checked since. They continued to complain and I was like, 'Are we doing a trial? Does it matter? We are doing fine.' (A trail in my MMO is what a raid is in other games, where specific ability rotation and gear sets are expected.) We were not; we were in a regular dungeon. They complained further that they didn't want to carry my weight, so I replied, 'enjoy more weight', and left during a boss fight.

I didn't really enjoy doing that, but the other two in the group were letting this guy be an abusive ass, and I don't stand for that. The middle of a dungeon is not the time or place to discuss such things, doubly so when I'm doing just fine for that content, which is a lot better than many who do random dungeons. I'm not in his guild. I am not doing a trial. He should not try and control or insult me.

But I try to shrug it off. Elitism is one of the reasons I don't do random groups (in any game, particularly PvP ones), and one of the biggest reasons I'm not interested in guilds. This was only one time out of maybe a dozen runs since I'd started doing them again this week. So maybe it was just a one time thing and I'll not worry. Sure, I may get a counter and look into the numbers of how I'm performing and retune things, but it will be on my terms, and not in the middle of a dungeon.

I am most worried about my bills though, specifically the overdue car insurance. It's only a few days over so far, but with all my money spent there is nothing to put towards it. So I don't know how, or if, I'll be able to pay it before things get bad.

I guess, as always, all I can do is hope help comes. Hope opportunity comes in time. And hope I can hang on emotionally and financially until it does, and hope I make it to better days.

Day 3596 - 5/6 - A numbers game

Today was both ok and disappointing. It was ok in that nothing bad happened. I was chilly, but not too cold, and I had enough to eat, as bad as the food was.

It was disappointing for a couple of reasons. The first big reason was the bandwidth was terrible. I tried doing a group and left because I was lag locking. Shortly after that I couldn't stay connected to the game at all. I'd lag lock for 10 or more seconds, then be disconnected.

But it was also disappointing because, being the curious overly analytical (at times) guy that I am, I ran some numbers, did some research, and found my dps was actually minimal for dungeons. One stat things are based on was 2000, whereas 'good' numbers for that stat is around 3000-3500. So my actual resulting dps number was around 10-12,000 on a test dummy (which 'good' is considered around 25-30k). Tweaking a permanent buff and tweaking a few pieces of gear the number changed from 2000 to about 3250 buffed, and to around 12-15k dps during the tests. But what is most disappointing is I have the same, or extremely similar gear, as a couple of strategy guides, who rate at 3700+ and 30k+ dps. So I guess that's a failure on my part for being older and unable to keep a solid rotation or do thing in the right sequence. I get distracted and go more with the feel of battle and often break rotation. So I'm disappointed that I'm behind the better people and I don't really understand the way of it.

I guess it's ok though. My focus isn't on the super hard super stressful content. I'm interested in the story and collecting things and the more casual group content, for which my numbers are more than capable.

I guess the important thing is I made it through the day with only some disappointment and some worry of bills. It's constantly on the back of my mind, but the stress didn't feel crushing today. And sometimes that has to be enough.

So as today ends I try to look forward to tomorrow. My food money has cycled again, so I can get more food. I'll be at school, the connection should be strong, and I should be able to get a shower in the morning. And hopefully I can hang on emotionally and financially until help comes. And I hope I can make it to better days.

Day 3597 - 5/7 - Sort of normal

Today things are sort of back to normal. I had money for food and access to a micro, so foods were closer to good. (Though I'm trying to eat better, less snacks, etc., so my tummy was hungry and complaining.) The weather was warmer again, but by mid-afternoon it was getting overly chilly again. I took a long shower in the morning because I didn't get a chance to shower Friday, so I did extra shaving of all my parts and such.

I guess today was ok. I played my game and had fun, though it was a bit laggy, so I couldn't do as much group stuff as I wanted. I helped someone in the intro film class with some stuff in the evening, so that was good.

I did feel a bit off today though. I was sneezing a bit and a bit confused, so I may still have a bit of a cold. And of course with a change in diet I may be a bit off in chemical balance.

But I guess the day was good enough. And now that it is over I will hopefully move on to the next. And with each day I hope help will come, hope opportunity comes, and hopefully I can hang on until it does.

Day 3598 - 5/8 - Promising start

Today has a promising start. The sun is bright and the sky is clear (though winter's bite is still here, so it's a bit chilly.) Things seem like they are on their way to warming up. The food store had a few things on sale that are super yummy, so I have a touch better / extra food. My shooter game has a new expansion that the special version I bought already paid for, so I'll have that to check out this afternoon. Everything seems quiet and calm. There weren't many on the floor in the department, and coming in there was hardly any traffic on the road.

And though all I have to go on are promises for the day, sometimes that is enough. As it seems most days, all I can do is continue to hold on to hope that help and opportunity will come, and that I can hang on until it does.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2008-2018
Pictures for Epic Fail are taken by me. :)

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