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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 13: Changed World

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 635

Day 4439 (V:163) - 8/26 - Cool and clear

Today the weather is cool and clear. I was actually cold enough to be a bit shivery earlier in the shade. The smell seems to have cleared and I don't smell burning anymore.

I had been very tempted lately to go ahead and get the good laptop and not wait for the better one. The reality is the higher specs on the nicer one would be helpful over the next 5-6 years I'd have it. And, really, the first new game I want that isn't out yet, comes out in November, so I don't really need one immediately since I won't be in classes again until next year, and the possibility of working remotely from somewhere like the library also seems unlikely until next year. So there isn't any reason not to wait really.

Nothing really new or changed today other than the weather and smoke. Just a regular virus time homeless day. So I continue to wait. And I continue to try to do my best to hang on.

Day 4440 (V:164) - 8/27 - Unending stuffiness

Today, and really yesterday, my nose has been stuffed with congestion and runny. It kind of hasn't stopped. I'm pretty tired too, so I may have a cold. I don't have any other symptoms though. Unless there is a little fever too, but that would be hard to tell with the heat.

The day was gray, looked like rain, and cold, in the morning. It's late afternoon now and it's still a bit gray. It's getting very cold suddenly. It seems the heat wave is gone and it's rapidly turning to winter. So far this week nearly every day I've been cold in the shade to the point of having pants, and all top cloths, including my hoodie.

I've been pondering more and more if I should go ahead and get the good laptop or continue waiting for a higher-end one. On the one hand the better graphics are only about 15% better FPS, not a huge difference when you are talking about demanding games where you are going from 60 to 70 FPS at extreme settings. I think though long term it may be more important because it has 8 gig of ram compared to the 6 of the good system. Right now that doesn't matter, but in maybe 4 years or more that might be beneficial. Also, if I do get the second stimulus check, that 300 difference is a lot. Especially if you consider splitting it between bills and games. That would mean two full price brand new games, or like four that are older or on sale. That would be quite a lot more than my current 'second stimulus budget' allows of like three. I guess though at this point there are only two weeks until the 10th and we should know more about the stimulus. So I guess I'll continue to wait, see what options there are, and what potential new laptops there are.

I suppose I basically made it through the day. And so I continue to try to hang on until better days.

Day 4441 (V:165) - 8/28 - Still pondering a purchase

Today I am still pondering going ahead with purchasing the good system and not waiting for more stimulus for a better one. The screen is good color accuracy, and it seems unlikely a higher-end one would be more color accurate (without spending about 500 more). It would be faster, but 240 Hz vs. 144 Hz wouldnt make a difference if the graphics on either are unlikely to have many games where it goes beyond that 144 FPS speed. And while the stronger graphics would be better, it's unlikely that higher capability wouldn't really be needed in games for a few years, far enough away there would no doubt be more powerful laptops.

Recent reviews have also stated a few times that the specs on the good system is "the best bang for the buck", and specs like what's in the higher system are kind of detrimental. They perform better, sure, but the higher parts cause higher battery drain, so they drain the battery faster, and run the system hotter.

The thought of that difference going to bills and games (assuming the second stimulus does eventually come) is becoming more appealing. And with recent word a second stimulus might not come until late September, or even November, or later, pushes the system out further and further if I wait. And with how uncertain my future is, even though I feel fine and haven't caught more than a cold so far, again having the things now seems very appealing.

No real news today. I hope things are ok, as there seems to be more smoke again. It's like a light fog, and I can smell the smoke smell again.

I'm super exhausted. I feel like I'm going to flop over at any second. I'm a bit less stuffy, so that's good. It's mid-afternoon, but I've survived so far. So I try to continue to hang on emotionally and physically. And hopefully I can make it through to better days.

Day 4442 (V:166) - 8/29 - Ordered

Today I decided to go ahead and order the good system and not wait for a second stimulus to consider a better one. I started the day rewatching the half dozen reviews of the system. Someone said their review system came with the higher specs (basically what I would be waiting for), but they felt that they weren't worth the cost in terms of price increase, and since they cause higher battery drain and heat they weren't ideal for that reason either. Also, compared to its bigger desktop version it's only 15% lower performance, and has the same ram amount. So, it will probably be years for that standard to change.

I hope I don't regret the smaller screen. I hope I don't regret changing brands. (Though the one I got is supposedly the highest selling laptop manufacturer.) I hope nothing bad goes wrong. I hope there aren't unpredictable other reasons I regret it. Hopefully it will be a great little system that I have for years to come. It is supposed to be delivered Friday, so it will be about a week from now before it's set up and I can start testing it out.

I decided to go be outside of the library. As the day went on actually more and more people started showing up. When I got up to leave I saw why. Apparently now 'curbside service' is open at least on Saturdays too. So that was unexpected good news. Though they still show no signs of fully reopening. Sadly I think it may indeed be the end of the year or later.

I'm exhausted, but less sniffly. I was cold most of the day. But I suppose I made it through. And now the new system is on the way, so I have that to look forward to. There is enough left to pre-order a game, but until I hear that more stimulus is coming I have to hold onto everything I can to cover bills. So I try to continue to hold on. And hopefully I can make it to better days ahead.

Day 4443 (V:167) - 8/30 - Happier and sadder

Today I felt both happier and sadder. Happier because the new laptop will soon be here. I can look forward to being able to play any game, new or old. I could also do whatever for at least a couple of hours on battery. The weather is cooling and not quite as hot.

Sadder because even though I could play any game, now with all the money spent I won't have any new games unless they are gifted. And I may not want to use it unplugged because it feels unsafe, both in that it might get damaged badly by a drop, or someone may try to steal it. And, of course, with all my limitations I'm still greatly limited in what jobs I could get. And with the likelihood that won't change anytime soon, with the coming cold things are likely to get a lot colder in as quickly as just two months, meaning I may have to be in my car much more just to try and stay warm.

I suppose I am happy and excited about the new laptop. Though I am genuinely concerned about using it outside of the food store. I may just change my once or twice a week visit outside the library to two or three times a week, and only use it those days. There, even though there is the same concrete floor under me, I would at least have no people passing by, save for a walker once maybe every two or three hours. Astonishingly so far it seems empty of visitors like me. Only occasionally on some visits have I seen someone at the plug near to the library doors. My preferred spot seems undiscovered, save for a few people using it as a different walking pathway.

I try to stay warm enough. And I try to continue to hang on emotionally and physically. I can't do much else with my days as things are.

Day 4444 (V:168) - 8/31 - A little bit happy

Today I am a little bit happy, but exhausted. Last night I made a few notes in preparation for the laptop change; what things to download, what to copy, in what order, etc. I guess my brain got a bit excited because I couldn't fall asleep until more than two hours after 'getting in bed'. So I'm probably got fewer than 6 hours of sleep.

But I'm a bit happy thinking of being almost in a position to play any game again. And the streamer was playing my favorite shooter, so I chatted quite a bit in general and with some of the chat regulars.

The day has been super chilly, and completely gray. I wouldn't be surprised if it rained again soon. So far I've had no desire to take off my hoodie, and it's mid-afternoon. Which is weird as I was considering changing back to shorts this morning. I'm glad I didn't.

I guess no real news today, but I suppose there is also nothing bad to report. Just the same level of bad with very slow degradation and loss of all the things in the background that comes on any day in my sad life. So I continue to try to hang on. And hopefully I can make it to better days.

Day 4445 (V:169) - 9/1 - Shipment 1 of 2

Today really the only news will likely be my first package arriving at the ex-house. It's either my M.2 drive or USB-c cable, I don't know which. But one shipped separate from the laptop for some reason.

I'll probably take my stuff to be outside the library for a bit. I have a couple of movies to drop off. Though I have pretty low expectations for the visit. The connection was ok last time, but still disconnected several times. The last four trips haven't been great, so I may just do lower priority things. I guess in about a week I'll finally find out if it is the connection or something with my old laptop's wifi partly dying. As long as the connection isn't worse on the new one I'll be happy.

I'm not sure what else my day will bring, but I will try to expect nothing. Hopefully something good will happen and surprise me. But, as always, I will try my best to hang on.

Week 636

Day 4446 (V:170) - 9/2 - Exhausted, but excited

Today I am completely exhausted. I slept pretty good last night, but I woke up a few times. I think that, and the loss of the other night, plus some sniffles from maybe allergies, has left me exhausted.

I'm excited about my laptop coming, but also worried about its limitations. It's one of the best screens in its price range, but a few have mentioned backlight bleed. I don't know how it would be worse than my like 7 year old system, but I hope it's not. And, of course, it's 15.6" vs. 17.3", so I worry it will feel small, but the most realistic option for a 17.3" would have been $500 more. And I worry about the graphics,. While not the lowest in this generation, it's also not the strongest. It's at about the bottom of mid-range, so hopefully it will be fine for me, as it really is pretty much all I can spend; even assuming a second stimulus comes.

But it's nearing late afternoon, and my day holds nothing for me. So I try to continue to stay awake. I try to not worry about things I can't control. And I try to hang on and hope for better days.

Day 4447 (V:171) - 9/3 - Unexpected delivery

Today had a strange twist. I went over to the library in the morning to be online with my laptop and pick up a movie. Shortly after they opened I decided to check the status of my delivery, since I hadn't checked since yesterday, and it said it had been delivered. I left immediately, leaving a few hours early, to go to the ex-house to move it to my area in the ex-garage. Hopefully I can set everything up quickly later tonight, as this surprise caught me off guard. There are a couple of things that I still need to copy, in addition to removing the SSD temporarily from the old laptop so I can put it temporarily in the new one to copy things over to the M.2 directly.

I guess the day was ok other than that. Parts after that move felt rushed, while others felt extremely slow. Over the next few days I'll finish the transition, the new system will hopefully be great, and I'll test my games and such.

So I feel my spirit lifted a bit today. Hopefully the change will work out well. And hopefully I will have just a little bit easier time trying to hang on until better days.

Day 4448 (V:172) - 9/4 - A bit warmer

Today I feel pretty exhausted. Due to trying to set up the new laptop, and things taking much longer than expected needing to set up the SSD externally because reasons, I'm probably only running on about 4 hours of sleep. I also wanted to test it and finish getting it set up, so I took it over to outside the library today to connect and do things.

It's a pretty great little system. My MMO oddly doesn't run a lot faster. It's averaged 70-100 FPS during the time I monitored it. But in my favorite shooter it went from low settings and still feeling sluggish to now ultra and flying. It also ran my card game at redonculous speeds, but that was kind of to be expected. And, I had no problem with the connection. In fact, I helped do a guild raid and had zero problems with the connection. Which I think I haven't done a raid on that connection in probably a year or more.

It is quite a bit warmer than I'd like though, whatever I was doing it was blowing borderline hot air up, granted that means the fans are doing their job, but even idling after it started it felt a bit warmer than it should be. Now, it's possible that was in part due to the warm weather. I guess the weather app said it was over 80F, though it didn't feel like it in the shade. After all, hot air means the system can't cool well. I'll have to see if I can do at least a little indoor testing and then see how it handles the heat.

I didn't test the battery, but I did get an odd notice the battery had drained to 25% and the system would take 1.5 hours to fill. So I wonder if the cable had jiggled out or something. I have no idea how long it had been unplugged. I'll have to monitor that tomorrow. (I later discovered this may have been in part to using 'turbo' mode, which I guess overclocks everything so much the plug can't provide it enough power and it uses the battery as extra power. Though that isn't supposed to drop it below 40%, so it must have been a true power loss at some point.)

I'd prefer a cooler running system. But the power of the graphics seems good. It's a very bright and colorful screen, way more colorful than my last. And it probably weighs half what my old system does. But I don't really have a choice without spending about 1/3 of an as yet still uncertain second stimulus. Which really that would have been too much more to spend in these uncertain times. Maybe next time the chipsets won't run so hot (most manufacturers are having trouble maintaining the heat). And maybe next time I'll have the option to consider going back to a 17" if I discover the 15" is too small. So far I'm fine with the size change. It is notably smaller, but I haven't done anything yet where it felt too small, or too much of a loss.

I am exhausted, but I feel pretty happy. Hopefully things will work out ok with the new laptop in the long run. And hopefully it helps make things a little bit easier to hang on.

Day 4449 (V:173) - 9/5 - The day almost forgotten

Today I am even more exhausted than yesterday. I've been confused and forgetful all day. This morning I got some super good news. The ex-roomie is out of town for a few days, so I can have some time in the ex-garage. So today I've spent most of the time trying to relax. I spent a little bit of time with a movie. And just now I spent about 1.5 hours setting up what I think may have been the last things I needed to set up with the new laptop.

I went out briefly to get some food. Man was it crazy hot. Out of nowhere another heat wave has hit us. And again we are seeing 95F and extreme heat warnings. Thankfully the extreme heat is when I can be inside. And while the ex-garage has no active cooling to speak of save for a fan, it was acceptably hot compared to the extreme heat outside. So, if the coming days are like today, me and the new laptop should be just fine. It does worry me a bit though, both for myself, and because if it gets too hot I shouldnt use the laptop.

So today was pretty good, and hopefully the next few days will be as well. And so I continue to try to hang on as best as I can, emotionally and physically.

Day 4450 (V:174) - 9/6 - Over 100F

Today the temperature is over 100F outside. I think it's nearing 105F just now in the mid-afternoon. Thankfully in a few hours that should be going down, as I don't ever remember this area hitting this kind of heat before. I think the only time I've seen this kind of heat was when I was young and we'd visit my grandparents in Phoenix, Arizona.

The laptop is doing surprisingly well. It has temperature monitoring software as part of special control software, so I've been watching temps. While it feels warm, and even somewhat hot for a laptop at times, it's inside temperatures are within 'fine' ranges. Which means the fans are doing their job. Also, it has a manual override to kick the fans into max speeds, which gets to redonculous levels, further helping to cool things. I would love to see lower temps, but even with the cooler air in the ex-garage I wouldn't be surprised if it's 85-90F in ambient temperature. So I can't really judge the cooling/heat properly until we are out of this insane weather. It's actually gotten so hot I'm not going to game for a bit and do other less demanding things.

I feel pretty good, though this extreme heat is exhausting. I think the laptop is finally set up, as at this point I'm doing nitpicky things. And I try my best to enjoy my games and new laptop. And I try to continue to hang on until better days.

Day 4451 (V:175) - 9/7 - Goopy eyes

Today I have goopy eyes. It was happening yesterday too, I think. What is happening is I do my normal blinking, but it feels like every half hour or so there is gunk in the bottom, and my contacts get blurry, and so I wipe and it feels like the skin is wrinkled and like I'm wiping away dirt and gunk. It might be my contacts are too old. Because of everything going on I've really not been able to keep track of their age like I used to. I can probably guess it's due to age, as they must both be two months old or older by now. I will try replacing them in the morning and prey it's not some kind of infection that immediately transfers to the new ones.

The little laptop has been handling the heat great, certainly better than I have. For the hottest hours, when the outside started to peak over 90F, I've been watching videos. The laptop has stayed cool and inside it's reporting low temperatures. Meanwhile it peaked over 103F outside and I am here in a low level sweat (and it's now showing it's cooled back down to about 85F outside.) So it has very much proven quite capable of dissipating its heat, as I'm sure the old laptop would be struggling in this heat.

Also it's weird to go back to the old now. While the larger screen is larger, I think the tighter pixel density on the new one makes it feel sharper, so it feels easier to see. And I always feel like the old one is so completely washed out in colors now in comparison. I guess I've very quickly gotten used to the new one.

So today the new laptop seems to continue to be a good choice. I have a bit of a struggle with the heat, but I try to hang on.

Day 4452 (V:176) - 9/8 - Last vacation day

Today is what will be the last day of this vacation time. I don't know when exactly I'll need to be back out in exile, but I'm sure I will rapidly become sad again. Especially if it remains hot, as it has been way too hot lately to use any devices outside. I worry that the weather app predicts it will be over 85F for about another week, as that is really the risky point for devices.

But I can't control the weather. Nor can I control really anything else in my life. So I have to hope I survive the heat. I hope I can continue on. And hopefully I can stay safe from the virus and everything else. And hopefully I can make it to better days.

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