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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.

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These include the Table of Contents, Glossary and links, all weeks, all pictures, and index.

Week 617

Day 4313 (V:37) - 4/22 - Some happy, some sad

Today was a bit happy and a bit sad. It started oddly, as I went to the closed library to use the fast connection and power to download software I needed for school. As I expected, it took about an hour, which gave me enough time to gather a bunch of pictures and fonts for an assignment I can hopefully throw together quickly offline. Honestly I can't put in quite as much effort as I normally would because it's an early assignment and really I'll only have one or maybe two hours a few times before it's due. So it's better to do a 'good' job over a great one and mess up my limited schedule.

I also got a big donation in the morning. So it was good I did it today, as I'd have missed the money for who knows how long if I waited. (Probably until Monday or Tuesday, though technically I can check if any money has come in through the website.)

Sometime between my check about a week and a half ago and when I posted the fail week I got a late bunny day present of a game that will release in about a week. That should be super fun to play. I hope the system can run it ok, as it may use the same engine that the previous game in that series did, which my system kind of had a bit of a struggle with.

In sad news I got a confirmation that school will indeed be online for summer quarter and if campus is open at all it would only be temporarily for a few health class meetings. I may go by and check on if the shower area is open if we get to 'phase three' of reopening things, but it seems more likely they will take the safe option and just keep things closed until September. So, definitely no microwave food until then, and probably no showers either.

In other sad news the more reviews of the new laptop I've been watching I see the less likely it seems the specific model I've been waiting for will have a good monitor (for production). It's a new type and early reviews of the 15" version seem to say it's got pretty low color range and accuracy and wouldn't be very good for content creation (like using it for contract work in graphic arts should I find any.) In sort of good news there is a review of a higher end different model with a faster monitor which gets good reviews. Originally I thought the 15" version of the one I've been watching could also have that monitor type, but no evidence of that seems to remain on the current page for it. Technically the one I'm waiting for has been pushed to the 11th, so I guess we'll see how it's monitor rates.

I guess today wasn't so bad. I wish I could have been in a home. I wish I could have done my homework in a relaxed environment instead of in my car. And though it's only late afternoon I hope the rest of the day goes ok, I'm ok through the night, and that we all make it through as best as we can.

Day 4314 (V:38) - 4/23 - A touch more normal

Today I felt a touch more normal, at least in parts of the day. I ate a normal lunch and dinner amount and even had an afternoon snack. I felt a bit more normal too when watching the class steams.

Though as the day went on, and my classes were over, I felt alone, lost, and forgotten. I thought back to the people who had their video on, their homes, their pets, or others I saw in their background. I thought how they are all doing fine and don't seem to have a struggle with having a home, staying in shelter, trouble eating or sleeping, or regular life maintenance. I saw posts online with similar reflections.

As it turned towards night I felt very alone, very sad, and again wondered if I will ever be able to recover. I started to again feel physically burnt and exhausted from the day. And there was no stimulus check, word it is coming, nor word of the library reopening.

As always it seems all I can do is continue to try to hang on. Continue to hope help and opportunity come. And continue to hope we all make it through to better days.

Day 4315 (V:39) - 4/24 - Ok for terrible times

Today was, I suppose, ok for these terrible times. I did one homework, so that's good. I watched a show, so that was fun. I saw some exciting news for one of the games I play, so that was super happy.

It's late afternoon. There are still several hours in the day, and it's very hot, but I hope things stay ok as the day cools into evening. There was no new news of the library reopening, but with just about a week of stay at home time left, I would guess that means they will post something next week and reopen when the other things do on the 4th. I think with it being this close to the date, after already having 15 days and then an extension of more than 30 more, they wouldn't extend it again on such short notice.

Still no stimulus money today, so I continue to worry that I won't get any. No new help either. But I can't control what I can't control. I can only try to manage what I still have as best as I can. And try to not be too sad about what I've lost or can't have. Hopefully help and opportunity will come in time. And hopefully we can all make it to better days.

Day 4316 (V:40) - 4/25 - Research

Today had some odd weather. It felt pretty hot. I guess yesterday hit 80F and it wouldn't surprise me if today did as well. I guess it is supposed to be hot until about mid-next week. But now in the late afternoon the sky has almost completely become covered with wispy light gray clouds. There is barely any breeze so it seems odd they appeared.

I'm current on homework and there was only one new show to watch this week, so mostly I have just been listening to stuff. However, due to my worry about not seeing the stimulus money yet I checked the site and apparently there is somewhere you can check the status, which did confirm I should get one. I hope it's the full 1200, but I haven't seen anyone confirm how much they got. (And no one seems to be talking about it.)

I researched some more, or I suppose more accurately tried to research more, about the new laptops I've been waiting for. The 17" version still shows release on the 11th (a full month after its original date.) But the price seems to now be showing $1300 instead of the previous $1200. Which really doesn't seem worth it compared to the 15" version with the more powerful GPU at $1400 set to launch next week. (The more powerful GPU is ~475% more powerful than my current laptop while the less powerful one is ~425%.) So, it seems currently the 15" version would be the best upgrade for the money. It has the same 5-6 hour battery life when doing production software or gaming (compared to my current system's 30-45 minutes), so that is awesome.

Sadly though even with the recent donation I only have about $25 and have the $150 car registration coming up in about 2.5 months, which I really need to pay before I consider any laptop upgrade to be sure that's covered. Which means currently I'm really probably going to wind up about $325 short, not counting any price changes, tax, or other costs. So it seems unlikely I'll be able to get either of the two I've been most looking forward to. At least without some kind of sale, which won't happen on brand new items. And the next potential big boost in donations wouldn't be until my birthday in 4 months. So I'm very fearful the money would get nibbled away over time and I'll miss my chance. I suppose there is the possibility of an older model going on sale (older generation systems would have 1/3 the battery life), which wouldn't be completely terrible if I had normal access to connections and power. There's also a version of the 15" new laptop with the lesser GPU that I mayyyybe could get, but that has disappeared from listings and the only one I saw today showed a June re-stock time.

I guess, as always, I just have to try to hang on and hope help and opportunity come in time before my chance is fully lost. Hopefully my old laptop can continue to hang on. It's got about 8-10 keys that flip-flop or don't really work, which is easily avoided with the external keyboard someone sent me. But there are an increasing number of error windows when shutting down, and the monitor has started becoming flat white if I move the angle while the system is on. (Thankfully it stops at certain angles, or when I put the monitor angle back to where it started when I turned it on.) So I am becoming increasingly fearful one day it will just be fully dead. I've never had a laptop this long before.

But all I can do is try to hang on. Try to stay hopeful. And hopefully help will come to those who need it and we can all make it through to better days.

Day 4317 (V:41) - 4/26 - Download detour

Today had a bit different start. Someone got me a game for bunny day, so I detoured to the library this morning to download it. It took about twice as long to get as I expected (based on average 'good' library speed), so it was just under two hours. (It's about 15 gig.) It was actually fine. There was a dog walker or jogger about every 5-10 minutes, but no one seemed to mind my sitting there. There was even a dad and his two sons playing hockey at the other side of the entrance who showed up about half way through, and were still there when I left. To my surprise when the download finished it showed 'play', so I started it up and it looks like I can play now even though it doesn't launch until the 28th. I guess pre-order people can play early. Yay.

Mostly I tried to not use bandwidth for other things while I was there to give the download as much bandwidth as I could. But I did play a handful of games in my card game (since that takes almost nothing at all), so that got daily rewards and a tiny bit towards weekly rewards. It was nice to have the figuring out puzzle solving side of my brain working again. So much of my brain has been shut off for so long now.

The weather was strange. It was pretty hot in the sun, but due to a breeze it was cool in the shade, and even downright cold in the shade where there was concrete.

My day is barely half over, so I'm writing a bit early, but hopefully the rest of the day will go ok. There were no donations, and being Sunday I didn't bother to check for my stimulus money. As always, it seems all I can do is continue to try to hang on. Hopefully help and opportunity will come. And hopefully we will all make it to better days.

Day 4318 (V:42) - 4/27 - Extremely disappointing news

Today is only the second time ever I've done a writing for the day and later had to completely change what I'd written. It's early evening now (I first wrote a few hours ago) and in the last hour some extremely bad news has come out. Apparently the word is that government in my area wants to extend the lockdown through the end of May. (So possibly as much as 28 additional days.)

I don't even know what to say. In a home, if I could afford it this wouldn't affect me. Especially if I had Internet to do schoolwork, possibly paid work, and play games.

I guess I will hear more about it in the coming days, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was some pretty extreme backlash. I expect a not-insignificant number of the reported 7 million who live in these counties will not fare well with another 28 days. We are already at 42, pushing the end date to 76 seems insane. Especially if other areas aren't doing this.

I guess, as always, I am reminded I have no control over anything. All I can do is try to hang on physically, and now more than ever, emotionally. And hopefully help and opportunity will come. And hopefully I can hang on and make it to better days.

Day 4319 (V:43) - 4/28 - Another predictive day

Today will be a class day, which means that is really all I can do as the class streams take most of my battery power. I have a big assignment due in two Sundays, so I will probably have to start on that soon as I have extremely limited time with my laptop since it effectively can't do anything unplugged, and almost as much limitations with my mobile devices.

Hopefully I can make it through the day ok. Hopefully it won't be too hot. And hopefully I can continue to hang on.

Week 618

Day 4320 (V:44) - 4/29 - Exciting day

Today turned out to be an exciting day. I checked my money and my bank show the stimulus money is pending. So that finally came and I have the full amount. Checking the laptop I've been waiting for things are still not quite ready in timing. I maybe have enough for the entry level one, but no one has that in stock. Some don't even show it as an available option at all, and the online store I normally use and have it on my wish list for now shows a date of June 11th. So that likely isn't an option anytime soon. It has a fancier version that is very worth the increase (bigger hard drive, a bit stronger graphics), but it's $1400. I'd be $250 short for that.

There is also the mystery of its 17" version. I don't know if that would be worth the increased cost though. It's a 17" screen vs. 15", sure, I have always used 17" laptops. But it's the less powerful graphics card. So I'm trading a bigger screen size for graphical power. Which I don't know if that's a good trade. Many reviewers say it's a small enough difference that you get used to 15" quickly. And probably 90% of all laptops made are 15". Plus, in theory I could just pull it a few inches closer to me and the visual difference in my field of view would be compensated for. But, this model seems to also not yet be out. They originally were supposed to come out at the start of April, then were pushed to the middle of the month, then the end, and now all versions show June 11th.

So, possibly very exciting laptop upgrade news, but it will depend on exactly what I have saved and when things come out. Hopefully I won't miss my window to get an upgrade. While help to cover bills is becoming less and less frequent and my bills become more and more of a struggle this has been my only real shot at upgrading in years. And with the world and my life what it is right now, I wouldn't be surprised if something 'working from home' is my best bet for finding work in the future.

My card game released for mobile today. So, to my surprise, I got the client early. My tablet doesn't have enough space, so for now I just tested it on the phone. It draws power at a similar rate as streaming video does, so basically I have to put that play time in the same category as show watching. So I'll probably only be able to play 30-60 minutes a few times a week, and much less on other days. Which while disappointing, is much more than I could otherwise play, because that's zero right now.

The weather turned oddly cold today. In the early part of the day clouds were coming in, and by late afternoon when I was in the shade I was actually kind of chilly and clinching my jaw even with my hoody on. Which is weird since I was nearly sweating hot the past couple of days.

So today had exciting news. And though my terrible life still sometimes make me feel like throwing up from all the stress of everything, the potential for choice is something. So often lately I have no choice, as it's all forced decisions. But with potential I can hope, and will watch the laptops I've been waiting for, and for news of other new ones from other companies, and surprise price drops of older models that might be good that are getting phased out. With my sad and terrible life what it is right now, that is something.

Day 4321 (V:45) - 4/30 - Game of waiting

Today I did some more research on the places that might have the laptop I've been looking at. I found one other place that lists it that referenced 'order fulfillment in 30 days'. So that to me means everywhere is out of stock until June 11th and I have to wait.

So it seems like with all the sites it may be a game of waiting until it's actually in stock. Which I suppose is fine because I would feel more comfortable with a bit more saved for it, so hopefully more help will come or there will maybe be a different version I could consider.

And too I discovered due to my current laptop's age, even though some reviewers don't consider the monitor on the new laptop to be that great, it should be better than my current one in every way. So even though it's not 'great' compared to other recent laptops, I should still see an improvement.

I'm further behind on assignments than I'd like to be. The past few nights when I've done stuff I was like 'this should take 30 minutes' and it's wound up to be like an hour or 1.5 hours. This current one is sort of a rough draft assignment, so I'm probably already making it much better than required, but I may need to hurry it alone. That, or start doing work in my car. Which with my current laptop would probably only be an extra 30-45 minutes per charge. But with all the heat lately I'd worry. Laptops (and other hardware) shouldn't be out in the heat, especially if they generate heat themselves. We'll see how my homework goes.

There wasn't much to my day, though I'm only about half way through now. I'm 'between classes' so this is a good time to write. If I were in the library I'd have done my homework today. I am in a mood for it. It makes me extra disappointed that the new laptop I want has been delayed basically by two months. I really could have used that awesome battery to at least do homework somewhere cool (like in the car in the mornings, or in the shade outside.) Who knows, maybe it will be bumped back to an earlier time, or a different manufacturer will have something I could consider. I don't have much money though, really just what my stimulus check got me, as the rest needs to go to bills, so most things will be out of my price range.

But for the moment I try to hang on. Hopefully more help will come along with more opportunity. Hopefully I can continue to hang on physically and emotionally. These days either one of those is difficult enough on its own. And hopefully we can all stay safe and make it through to better days.

Day 4322 (V:46) - 5/1 - The math

Today I am writing early, partly because there is stuff to say, and partly because I don't want to forget it. I did a bit of an experiment last night during a brief 30 minute play time on my laptop. The math says 17.3" at 90% is 15.6". The math says that 1600x900 is very close to 90% of 1920x1080. So, for about 20 of the 30 minutes I played a game windowed at 1600x900 to simulate a 15" screen. It actually was not as bad as I expected in terms of size. It seems a bit smaller than 10%, but the full 17" size actually felt too big. I suppose that's because I've become used to 5" and 7" screens over these past 46 days, as I've probably had less than half a dozen play hours total with my laptop during that time. I think the transition wouldn't be as difficult as I originally thought.

I guess though if I get a 15" or 17" will really depend on what releases when and how much I have saved. Right now with what I have to 'safely' spend it looks like the one most basic version of the Asus A15 is my only option. But, I guess with the world staying at home that has caused a delay in the launch and lack of production of laptops overall. I probably won't have any real options until things start back up again. Which I suppose should be soon since my area is one of the few not opening back up.

In other happy news I'm not as behind on homework as I thought. I was thinking a big project was due Sunday, but it is actually due the Sunday after this one, meaning I'm actually right on track.

But it seems, as it has for many years, I have what I have. Though I do continue to hope more help comes, which would allow for more options. And that more opportunities come in time. And especially now, I hope I can hang on to enough until that opportunity comes. And hopefully we can all continue to hang on and make it to better days.

Day 4323 (V:47) - 5/2 - Fearful P.T.S.D.

Today I have become fearful of death again. Maybe because someone was talking about people they knew who died from the virus , or maybe just because I feel so vey alone and cast aside being one of the only people I know or hear about on social pages who doesn't have a safe shelter to be during these times.

I have tried my best to make it through the day. With no shows to watch I got to play my card game about twice as much as normal, so that was fun. The day was a cooler temperature as rainy looking clouds came in. Things were pretty quiet, I suppose.

While I still hope more help for bills and a new laptop will come in the future, I have pretty much decided that on the 11th I'll go ahead and preorder the entry level system. So much of my life lately is about living small, while trying to have what comforts I can, and it seems that might be my only real option. And hopefully it will be good and its limitations will be acceptable. I would still have about a month to cancel if I needed to for whatever reason. (I'm not even certain they would take the money out of my bank for a preorder.) But I think if I do preorder, especially if the money is taken right away, I would feel a bit safer that the purchase was secured before the money was somehow lost on lesser things. Either way, even that is still a bit over a week away.

But today I feel pretty scared and nervous. I'm shaking a bit more again, and I'm fearful my terrible journey will be the end of me. Especially now with all the danger of the virus. But I only have what I have, so I have to plan and move carefully, and try to hang on to what is left as best as I can.

Day 4324 (V:48) - 5/3 - Chilled

Today is only 2/3 over, but I don't expect anything to change. The weather was actually quite chilly in the shade. There were some gray clouds, but the big thing was a very cold medium strong almost constant breeze. I guess a common thing for a coastal area, but this area is about 30 miles from the bay or the ocean, so it's not super common.

I guess the day was ok. I was still a bit extra fearful of death and a bit extra nervous about everything. But I guess it was less than yesterday, so that's something.

For a brief moment when I was playing my card game looking at new cards and considering a new deck type, I kind of felt like I was calm and in a home. Which is strange, as I never had this game when I was in a home. It hasn't even been out much more than 3 months. But with still four weeks of stay at home lockdown remaining I can't help but feel like with these recent losses my sad life will just continue to get worse until there is nothing left. And I will be no more.

Day 4325 (V:49) - 5/4 - Crying day

Today was extra hard emotionally. In the morning I had fun playing my card game. But maybe I had too much fun, as I started to miss being in a home. After a few games I stopped, went back to the car, and cried.

I think I may delay my new laptop preorder by a week. So not Monday, but maybe do it the Monday after. I saw some news from about a month ago that made reference to new high-end systems. While these new systems would be way out of my price range they would be a really good upgrade (probably 700% or more), being close to starting at just over 2k, with the true higher end being closer to 3k. But it would be a new high-end system to put on my wish list. (I have a previous generation one on my wish list now that is 600% more powerful than my current system for something like $2100 that the new line is replacing.)

But why I may delay the preorder is that there is supposed to also be a more mainstream version of the system, meaning something maybe close in price to the high-end option of the one I've been looking at, possibly in the $1400-1600 range. While still out of my price range, as I really only have $1200 at most, it might be close enough to hold out to see if I can get it if more help comes. But again, it will be all up to timing, as the only dates for this new system line is 'spring'. And with the one I've been watching originally set to launch a month ago, and still not launching until a month from now, it's possible the high-end options will be delayed too.

But today was emotionally very rough with my sad feelings and crying. Physically I was ok, though I still more often than not feel like I'm suffering from heat stroke. Food was not the best, but it really won't be with the extremely limited options I currently have. It was pretty hot, but manageable. Though my day was consumed by sadness and my limitations prevented me from doing anything productive, I guess I survived. And I suppose that is something.

Day 4326 (V:50) - 5/5 - Continuing predictive

Today I guess I will be continuing predictive Tuesday posts. At least for four more weeks. Today is class and I have a big assignment due Sunday night. Hopefully I have enough time to do it. With my limited access to my laptop being basically 5 hours a week doing school assignments may start to become more difficult. I may need to start bringing it with me to do work in the car while the battery lasts. I'd prefer to keep it safe and cool in the ex-garage, so we'll see how assignments go in time.

I guess, as always these days, all I can do is try my best to hang on. And hopefully we can all make it to better days.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2008-2020
Pictures for Epic Fail are taken by me. :)

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