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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 12: Unknown Beyond

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.

View/Download the Complete Epic Fail Book 1 .pdf paperback book
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View/Download the Complete Epic Fail Book 9 .pdf paperback book
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View/Download the Complete Epic Fail Book 12 .pdf paperback book
These include the Table of Contents, Glossary and links, all weeks, all pictures, and index.


Week 577

Day 4033 - 7/17 - Saved again

Today I am saved again. The gray ghost sent a big donation and that is on the way to my bank with my dad money. I paid the overdue amount of car insurance, and tomorrow the money should clear and I'll pay the registration part of registration. On Friday morning I've got a few hours to kill before the library opens, so I'll change my air filter and get smog done. There have been an occasional rattle noise for maybe a year now, but it's super rare, and seems more related to bouncing the car than anything else. A car I had when I was a teen had a similar noise which was the butterfly valve. But there is zero impact on the car acceleration or deceleration, so I'm not sure what the noise is. Hopefully whatever it is won't prevent the car from passing smog.

So for the moment I seem saved again. By the start of next week things could be current again. There may even be enough left to pay what I think is the last insurance payment (until the new cycle in October.) I want to be sure it clears all the things and see what is left of the money before making plans.

My eyes and mind again had a hard time focusing today. Lately it just feels like I have blinders on. As if my eyes are staring forward, not moving around like they should be, and the eyelids are half closed. I hope it's just extra stress and exhaustion due to all these bill concerns, and hopefully much of that will be alleviated soon.

So for the moment I can rest a bit easier. But there are still many obstacles and worries, so I continue to hope more help comes, and I can hang on until it does.

Day 4034 - 7/18 - Half done

Today I am half done with the registration. It's been paid, but I still need to do smog tomorrow. As always, even though nothing is really wrong with the car I am very fearful it won't pass for some reason and I'll be screwed. I suppose I should have just waited to pay the registration money until after to be safe, but I am trying to hope for the best.

My ankle is very definitely swollen and aggravated by all the walking lately. I think the bone density is smooshing the cartilage and that is what causes the aggravation. Though it does definitely seem to be getting worse over the years. So at this point I don't know if it's something that can be fixed easily. The bone going up my leg also feels 15-20% thicker than the left one at least half way up my calf. As if it's having to compensate for weight and that side has grown to a different density. I don't know what is going on. I keep hoping I can see some kind of specialist eventually, and I suppose technically I could see a generalist on the current coverage I have. (Provided I had at least $20 for an appointment.) But it seems doubtful they could do any kind of surgery that would be covered if it is a slowly degenerating issue.

But with all the things in my life I have to look at just the short-term. Will I pass smog? When I do how much money will be left? Enough to cover August insurance? Enough for gas? Enough for an early birthday present? A parking sticker so I can avoid further long walks on campus? A run of laundry? With an unknown amount left I can't see what is ahead over the next week, let alone further out.

So for the moment I try to continue to hope for the best. I try to focus on what I do have for sure, and hopefully more help and donations will come.

Day 4035 - 7/19 - Squeaked by

Today brings some relief as I passed smog and things were ok enough. The guy said I squeaked by with one of my numbers at 59 of 60 and another at 78 of 80. He said it was probably an issue with the catalytic converter. So I asked if I ever got any money to fix that how much was that, and could the shop do it, and if so how much that would cost. We talked a little about how rarely I drive and he suggested not to worry about it until two years from now if I fail smog. Apparently there is still a chance I could squeak by again since I don't drive much. And I got the feeling that maybe that's something the government would help pay for if I failed. (I've never looked into that, but apparently that's a thing.)

I also didn't hear the noise during testing, so I asked if he heard it. He said no, so I described it, and mentioned it seemed more related to bouncing than anything else, even though it was a clicking like noise. He said it might be something related to the suspension, which I was then like, well duh, the noise is in the wheel well area, and right on the other side of the tire is where that would connect, so that would make sense. It' not very frequent, or very loud, most days I don't even hear it, so I likely don't have to worry too much about it.

I'll check my money tomorrow, but I think if I do nothing else with the money there should be enough to pay August insurance, and that's it. If I can I'll probably just reserve that and then do it in a bit, closer to the due date, and hope more help comes in the meantime so the bank account isn't so close to the edge. (And so I can be sure I have something more for gas.) It'd be pretty terrible to pay that and then only have the one week of gas I have in my tank and that's it.

But for the moment I am clear of bigger bill worries. There are still many smaller things; insurance, gas, school in a couple of months, and even bigger things that eventually need tending; next insurance cycle, contacts. But for the moment there is a bit of breathing room and reduced pressure. The big yearly car registration is paid, and every other year smog cleared, so those are huge reliefs. And that is something. So I continue to hope more help and donations come in time, and hopefully I can continue to hang on.

Day 4036 - 7/20 - A quick day

Today seemingly passed very quickly. I played my MMO, and again, or I guess still, felt a bit sad and lonely so I had stuff playing in the background. Mostly live pen and paper games, or news about a new version that's coming out in a few weeks.

Pretty early on the library connection was going bad. I'd guess by noon. By about three it had been regularly locking and dropping me more frequently that I just stayed out of my game. I did a bit of offline stuff and tried to watch videos after.

Overall the day seemed to pass very quickly. I guess with the relief of stress over the car registration my mind felt a bit lighter. I enjoyed my games and shows a bit more. And my mind even wandered a bit to new things I may have an opportunity to do in the future. (Not in the sense that I can do them because I have opportunity. In the sense that if I had the opportunity I might like to try them.) So I guess my mind got to wander a bit, when lately I'd been too sad and just focused on bills.

There are still many small bills to overcome, especially seeing how tight things will be if I even just pay next car insurance. So I try to focus on the small victory I have for the moment. And try to continue to hope help and donations continue and the smaller things can be tended to as well. And hopefully I can make it to better days.

Day 4037 - 7/21 - A little clean

Today I am a little cleaner. I don't have much left from the last batch of money, but I decided to at least do a small laundry. I did socks, underwear, shirts, and one shower towel. I'd forgotten how soft and smooth socks are supposed to feel when clean. I've been wearing crunchy stinky ones for so long I just accepted that as normal. Some of the items will last a couple of months without really needing to wash them without too much worry, some only about a month. But for the moment I no longer stink. I am not reminded how dirty and gross I am when I cross my legs. I no longer smell icky if I nod my head down or bend down to get something.

The connection got terrible at the library almost immediately. All day it was dropping me every 5-10 minutes. For a few hours in the afternoon it became so frequent I just stopped playing for a few hours. It was freezing too. I as clinching my teeth for most of the time I was there. I really don't understand their need to keep it at what feels like 65F all the time. It's always freezing. And on days like today when it's probably 80F outside that can't be cheap to do.

I guess the day wasn't terrible. I lost nearly a week's worth of gas to laundry, but it seems worth it for the moment. It may seem less worth it in a few weeks when I'm out of gas and walking everywhere. But I continue to hope help and donations come and that doesn't happen and I can at least continue to do the minimal amount of driving I need to do. And hopefully I can hang on physically and emotionally until better days.

Day 4038 - 7/22 - Memory in montage

Today I felt weird. I mostly played my MMO. I tried playing other games, but I just couldn't get into anything. Things felt bland. I did the usual job check things, and was met with the usual lack of postings. The day passed quickly and trying to think back on it all I recall are a half dozen flashes, as if it played in montage.

I think part of the weirdness is an increasing pondering of my upcoming birthday in less than a month. It's not that I'm comparing it to normal, or where I think I would have been by now, all of that was tossed aside when I got divorced around 20 years ago. It's the number that is sticking in my mind. A number people usually make a big deal of. One people give both serious and silly gifts for. And the fact that not only will there probably not be anyone truly celebrating me, but it is looking more and more like I won't have any gifts. Not even one I'd like to buy for myself (as I'm not even half way to the $40 needed if I took all of the not car insurance money I have.)

I suppose it will come and it will pass, and in time it will likely be like all days in my sad life right now. One where I have what I have, where I miss what I don't have, and wish I could have a regular life again.

So I try not to worry. I can't control what I can't control. All I can do is continue to hope help, donations, and opportunity come. And that I can hang on until it does.

Day 4039 - 7/23 - Settling

Today is just starting. I'm trying to settle and cool down from the walk. From the knees up I'm getting a bit used to it. But from the knees down I'm still getting destroyed. Thankfully there are only half a dozen more walks before I'm at the library for like two months and back to much more tolerable minimal walks. Unless, of course, I don't have money for a parking sticker next quarter. Then I don't know what I'll do.

No donations today yet, so I'm very worried overall about money and the smaller bills. I should be able to cover next insurance in a few weeks, but gas, and everything else, is still not covered. So I am still very worried about all the things.

But hopefully today will be ok. Hopefully in time more donations and help come. And hopefully I can hang on until better days.

Week 578

Day 4040 - 7/24 - Sadness returning

Today I think a lot of sadness is returning. While I am still ok on money for the moment, it will be a very brief moment, as no new help has come. Soon I'll be out again. And with that all the worries of how much longer I can hang on, and all the fears bigger things won't be taken care of.

A big worry today is contacts. My right contact has been mildly hurting all day. And both have been a bit blurry and not wanting to focus either far or near. This is the last pair I have, and I don't know how many more weeks, or days, they can hang on.

For some reason I'm extremely tired. And extremely hungry. It feels like I got no sleep at all last night and that is taking a toll on me. But I did. I think I slept pretty well. I certainly slept better than usual.

But I can't really do anything about that. Nor to alleviate my worries about the unpaid bills. All I can do is continue to try to hang on to hope that help and donations will come. And that I can hang on and get by until they do.

Day 4041 - 7/25 - All about a kitten

Today was super hot again. In the basement of the school building I didn't feel it, but walking about at night I heated up pretty quickly.

I got some good, but also sad, news from dad today. He asked if I wanted my birthday money early. Because I very much want to at least get the one gift for myself I said yes, as that guarantees I can get it in a few days when the money comes. And it guarantees I can play a few days before my birthday, as I'd get early access. But, of course, that is also sad because my birthday is still nearly a month away. And by then the happiness of the extra would wear off. Especially since that extra would rapidly be burnt on non-birthday things which are everyday costs.

Ever since about two my back has been hurting me more and more. It's almost so bad it feels like the early stages of fully locking up. It will take quite a bit of relaxing to get it down to normal. Early in the day I had some pretty bad headaches. I wonder if the two are related.

But really today my mind has been occupied with thoughts not of me. When I was putting my food away in the car I looked around at the other cars, as I always do. And in one car I saw a quick flash of a tiny kitten running up and down the seats, zooming as fast as she could. I said to myself I must go see her closer. She zoomed up and down and over to the door when I came up to the car. She was the cutest kitten, mostly white with some calico colors. I waved my 'claws' at her as playful kittens do and she zoomed away and back.

As I watched her look up at me and zoom around I became very sad. Not just because I missed having an animal in my life to love, but more because I saw a couple of blankets in the car. It seemed this person was either temporarily homeless, or recently became homeless. But I was most sad that meant this tiny baby kitten, probably not more than six weeks old, was at extremely high risk. The weather lately has been getting into the 80s, and animals left in a car in that heat will not have an easy time. And a new kitten who can't really regulate body temperature well is at extra high risk. So I was worried about her all day, and my thoughts kept worrying that she was at risk.

But she was so very happy. She was so very curious. She wasn't fearful at all. And so I hope that means her person was just not in a home this morning. And that the kitten actually does have a safe and comfortable home. And she has a long, happy, life ahead of her in a nice forever home.

Day 4042 - 7/26 - Locked back

Today my back is completely locked and extremely painful. It started yesterday afternoon and got progressively worse. Overnight I was hoping it would relax, but it was just as bad. I took a bunch of pain pills and all that seems to have resulted in is hurting ringing ears. I suppose as painful as it was to move during the day, now in the evening it isn't as bad. I'll maybe try to stretch a bit if I can and have to hope for the best. I'm not in an environment I can do things like get up and try to stretch every hour. Maybe I'll get a chance once a day if I'm lucky. Next week when school is back on I could try that if it's still bad. Really I should do it a few times a week, and back when I was in a home I could. But without... that's not an option.

I decided to get an unexpected birthday present since dad has sent some money. There was a 50% off sale on some shirts (which ended this afternoon) so I got a super cute bunny one where it has a game controller and headphones on and the words 'pew pew pew pew pew' around them. With shipping it was like $16, so that is a super good price. Most of my better shirts have been in storage for years. I've only really worn about four the past few years, ones I don't mind wearing out. At least one has some pretty bad holes in the sleeves. So really two are probably at the point they should just be tossed. (Those are something like 15 years old.)

The connection went to garbage around 1, and by 3 it was so bad I couldn't stay connected to the game at all. I suppose back and ear pain aside, today was ok. I try to hang on as best as I can, and hopefully help and donations will continue to come in time to pay the important things. And hopefully I can continue to hang on until better days.

Day 4043 - 7/27 - A blur

Today is really little more than a blur. I played my game. I watched, or listened to some stuff in the background. I typed in my writing. Bandwidth at the library got bad by 2, but I don't recall any specifics of the day.

My back is still hurting very badly. I suppose it's not quite as bad as yesterday, so maybe that is something. Though it isn't a lot better, so I have a feeling recovery might be another week or two. I guess all I can do is continue to try and stretch when I can. Continue to try to not worry about stressful things. And try to rest and recover.

There were no donations or birthday money yet, so I am somewhat worried about all the things. But much like with my back pain, it seems things are still out of my hands. I just have to continue to hope for the best, and hope I can make it to better times.

Day 4044 - 7/28 - Slightly better

Today my back is slightly better. It's still for sure locked, but things that caused great pain a day or two ago don't hurt as much. And some things I couldnt do I can now do again. It's by no means a full range of motion yet, but it's something.

I'm still pretty exhausted. And still a bit extra hungry. But tomorrow is Monday, so I'll be back at school for one last week until basically the closed break. So I can have micro food and hopefully a restful day.

No donations or birthday money today, so I am still pretty worried about bills around the corner. But I try to hang on to hope. And hopefully I can continue to hang on until better days.

Day 4045 - 7/29 - All the pain

Today I am in extra pain, both physical and emotional. Yesterday something changed with my top back left teeth. I noticed a very receding gum area where the edge of the teeth are now prominent. Somewhere in that area I was in a lot of pain. Today there was a crack and crunch after many hours of pain and part of the side came off. The weird thing is it actually feels better. It doesn't have that jutting edge and is aligned with the gum again. But, the tooth does feel grainy on that side, kind of like rough plaster, which I'd guess is the softer inside part of the tooth. And taking a picture, with what I could see because it's not a great angle or easy to get a shot back there, the tooth is very black. So it must have been corrupt for quite some time. And since my teeth are so horrific and make me feel like crying all day when I see them, who knows how long that's been corrupt.

I was also still in a lot of back pain. I was going to try to stretch today, but I forgot. I only did twice all day. Maybe tomorow I'll set some kind of reminder to try to do it like every hour.

My extra long walk today didn't help. For some unknown reason the entire area I normally park in was jammed full. I had to park more than double the normal distance from school, nearly tripling my walk time. If I had the $3 to park on campus I'd have just gone back and done that. But I don't even have that much spare these days.

A guild event ran longer than scheduled, which also heavily threw me off emotionally, so that wasn't ideal. And with no donations today all I can do is say to myself that today was just today, and hopefully these things will not continue to trouble me tomorrow. And hopefully I can continue to hang on.

Day 4046 - 7/30 - Just don't move

Today my back feels a lot better, as long as I don't move. The pain goes from mild to none when I hold still. It only happens when I change position, get up, or sometimes if I rotate. It's not as bad when it does happen though. My tooth, on the other hand, is getting pretty extreme. I'll have to take some pain pills and hope for the best. Historically when my tooth pain has gotten bad I've had to overdose to the point of making myself sick to deaden the pain, but I'm getting too old to keep doing that without suffering pretty bad side effects.

I got my early dad birthday money, so I deposited that this morning. I can have my birthday present game for sure. Though that is really it. After I reserve some for gas, a bit for the bank, I would be lucky to have the $12 to RMA my backpack to replace it. Every year or so the fabric near the zipper rips, making the zipper useless, and it's getting pretty extreme as I haven't had money to do that when it started.

Yesterday my keyboard got worse. The D key is flopping around quite a lot, and the F (used for 'interact' in all games) has pretty much popped off completely and doesn't stay down. I swapped them with > and ? and that seems to help a bit. (Though it seriously messes my brain up if I look at the keyboard.) It's still bad, but maybe only half as bad. Hopefully enough to hang on for gaming without needing to use my external battery based keyboard. But this is extra sad emotionally, as the broken keys remind me of my broken teeth.

So this week was extra hard, both emotionally and physically, with extra loss. But all I can do is try to hang on. And hopefully help, donations, and opportunity come. And hopefully I can hang on until it does.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2008-2019
Pictures for Epic Fail are taken by me. :)

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