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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 649

Day 4537 (V:261) - 12/2 - Food approved

Today I feel a fair bit better. Pretty early in the day I got notice from the food stamp people. My heart was racing as I checked what the notice said. The first one I checked said my food money has been re-approved through 2021. Phew. So at least I can still have money to eat. The second notice was also, I suppose, good news, in that it said the amount I can earn per month (without losing my food money) is $1383. Which really with what my life is these days is vastly more than I'd need to get by. (Though in this area that likely wouldnt even cover most 1 bedroom apartments.) And, good to have a higher number if I do find work again. (Back when I started that number was closer to 1k.)

So the rest of the day that I was at the library was a bit more relaxed than I have been. And now at night I got extra food because I'd kind of been shorting myself 'just in case.' I got myself a treat as well. Nothing super fancy, just some chocolate chip muffins.

I've still been pretty extremely stressed about bills though. My back has been sore and clenched up most of the day. In a couple of days I'll pay the big web bill. It will take everything I have to do that though, shorting me for car insurance (for January) for the moment. I'll be using gift card money I got for my birthday, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. I suppose though since that was saved for school it's not a total loss, as checking the schedule everything will be online again next quarter. And for what I need to take doing it online isn't really an option.

I will have to sacrifice everything for the bill though, and I'd hoped that gift money could be used for, well, gifts. I guess I'll have to hope enough for the remaining bills come for Xmas. And then, if there is anything left, maybe then I can get a gift.

So I feel better and safer about food money, but still extremely worried about bills. But, as always, all I can do is try my best to hang on. And hopefully help will come in time.

Day 4538 (V:262) - 12/3 - Muffin surprise

Today when I got back to my car after my library time I was surprised by muffins. I'd forgotten that I got them. They have been such a rare treat for me.

I guess today was ok. I had what felt like good progress in my games, and I got more done than I expected I would.

It was pretty cold today. I'm pretty sure it was a new low. I think the temperature said something like 45F when I settled in, and barely above 60F in the warmest time. Oddly it didn't feel too cold. I didn't even have my gloves on. Which maybe that's a good sign for surviving, as things shouldn't get a whole lot colder. I think the peak cold here in the coldest winter time will be about 30F, but I think 40-60F is about where the days will be when I'm outside and not in my car. I guess we'll see as time goes on, and I'll deal with that as it happens.

I was very worried about bills today, and I think my back is still kind of killing me because of it. I've had a fair bit more stress than usual, but I guess there really isn't anything I can do about that beyond what I am already trying.

As always, all I can do is try my best to hang on, and hopefully help comes in time.

Day 4539 (V:263) - 12/4 - Failed attempt / more restrictions

Today is an extremely sad day. I got news two hours ago and still feel so nervous and anxious about it I feel like I will start uncontrollably crying or that I'll throw up. The state is nearly going into panic over recent rises in cases and are making things more restricted. Stores capacity will be more limited, and restaurants can't have people in the store at all. At first I was completely panicking thinking that I couldn't be out at all. But after I'd calmed down a bit I found an article that stated outdoor activity 'for mental well being' is still ok. So I should still be able to do what I've been doing.

Though things will likely have to change. I expect I shouldn't be outside the library on Sunday at all since it's not open. And since it basically doesn't open until about 1, maybe get there later instead of showing up at 8-9. And instead of leaving as it's entering dark hours I may want to leave in the late afternoon. So, basically reducing what is usually 8 hours there to about 5, and go back to probably not being there every day.

I don't really know though. I'll take things tentatively next week and see how things go. I'm very worried, but I'm trying not to cry or be worried.

I also got bad news when trying to use my gift cards to pay the big bill. They will only accept a single payment method. So the gift cards can't be used for that bill. I will have to continue to prey enough cash help comes in time, as it's due before Xmas. I put out a call for help on the social page, but it seems unlikely it will be noticed, as it seems hardly anyone looks at the page.

I also got bad news checking on the most wanted game. Checking the site where I have the gift card balance, the PC game code now shows "no longer available", so I may not be able to buy a PC version through them. Which would mean it is a lot less likely I will be able to get it.

So today had all kinds of bad news that will require adapting to some things and continuing to hope help comes in time. It seems more and more lately all I can do is try my best to hang on and hope help comes.

Day 4540 (V:264) - 12/5 - Big help

Today started out kind of sad. I was worried about the changes because when I got to the library outside spot no one was around. That wasn't really unusual though, as things don't get busy until closer to noon. But I couldn't help feel nervous and worried about people seeing me as an outsider. But I reminded myself about noon being the time people come, and reminded myself technically changes don't happen until tonight. By the time I'd calmed down a bit people were showing up, and it was reasonably busy after that. Oddly there weren't as many doing general stuff, but there were 3-4 times as many people picking up stuff from the library.

I spent much of the afternoon doing dungeon things in my MMO with a guildie. We chatted for a bit and talked about my sad life. They sent some help that was a huge donation. It was so big it will cover the web bill, the car insurance, the fix-it ticket, and even have enough left to pre-order the most wanted game. So that pretty much ensures I should have a very good Xmas time. Also, there is the indirect additional benefit that I didn't need to use any of my gift card cash I'd gotten for previous gifts. I will still have to be pretty careful with that, but it also seems pretty likely it would be ok to spend some on the second most wanted game, which is releasing in very early February, and then saving the rest for bills coming in the future.)

So now at the end of the day I feel pretty good. The money is on the way to my account, so hopefully I can do the things Monday. I already feel much less stressed, so that is very helpful. And I even feel a bit hopeful again that I won't feel so sad when Xmas comes around since I'll at least have one fun thing and important bills paid. And if I have more gift money that comes in a few weeks, that will further the odds I can spend a bit on the second game and have more for future bills. Getting more might help me feel like I have a choice of things again, instead of feeling like I'm forced to do X with the cash out of necessity.

As always though, everything is still extremely sad and uncertain. But for the moment things feel a bit brighter. And so I continue to try my best to hang on until better days.

Day 4541 (V:265) - 12/6 - Felt normal

Today was a test of the new stay at home conditions. Though the more I debated changing my patterns the more I felt like I would just be depriving myself of what little I have. So, I compromised. I arrived at my spot about the usual time. But every time I heard a car I tried to look up to see if it was anything unusual. The same went for people walking, jogging, biking, or with dogs. The morning was a bit unusually slow, even for a Sunday. But not unusual when I added the fact that it was mist raining. And as the day went on, especially as we neared noon and the mist rain had stopped, it basically reached a regular sized crowd.

So at least for today, things seem unchanged. There is the curfew, so at night things do become extremely quiet, but outside of that nothing really seems changed. People still seem to be driving around the same amount. People seem to be walking and outside the same amount. And, sadly, people still seem to be casually wearing masks, not wearing them all the time. But, overall, I felt pretty comfortable not changing my pattern today. I'll see how tomorrow goes, but it looks like I may have nothing to fear. At least for a few weeks, until we are closer to Xmas and New Years and being outside at all seems extremely unusual.

But today I feel a lot less fearful of change. It seems more like it was a 'be ready for change' than actual change so far. Outside of that I just try to continue to do my best to hang on. And hopefully more help will come, and I can hang on long enough to make it to better days.

Day 4542 (V:266) - 12/7 - Still felt normal

Today again pretty much felt normal. In fact, if I hadn't heard about the changes I may not have even noticed that anything was different. Really the only difference was there weren't really parked cars across the street from my sitting spot because the people in that building are one of the few groups which are fully shut down during the restrictions (until the 4th?).

There were fewer people walking dogs or out and about, so there is that, but since those numbers vary from day to day I'm not really worried. If tomorrow goes like today did I will feel safe and consider things unchanged compared to before. I will try to not worry about the changes until things change again, and again seem like they may affect me.

Today the most important bill for this time of year has been paid, so I feel a lot better about that. I also got the most wanted game, and it already got to 60% downloaded before I had to shut down, so there should be plenty of time left before Wednesday early evening when it's unlocked to get the rest.

Things are still terrible, but I try not to think about them, for I have no control over them. All I can do is continue to try my best to hang on. And hopefully I can make it through to better days.

Day 4543 (V:267) - 12/8 - Maybe unusually warm

Today is supposed to be warmer than it has been. Monday it was about 10F warmer all day, which seemed pretty unusual. Today is supposed to be about half that. Then later in the week it will be back to being cold.

Hopefully today will have a regular crowd and I will start to feel less worried about the changed restrictions. It seems so far nothing really seems different to me. Hopefully people will be better though. And hopefully those who are not well will get better. And hopefully soon we can all make it through to better days.

Week 650

Day 4544 (V:268) - 12/9 - Dry knees

Today I am a bit worried about my knees. I noticed last night when I had an itch there is about a one inch area on each that is super dry and cracking. I guess it makes sense. There are now four clothing layers in that area, and for the past basically two months I've knelt on each on super hard concrete a few times a day at the spot outside of the library to do things with my backpack. I guess I'll have to try to remember to keep an eye on if it gets much worse or not, as well as try to be mindful not to be on my knees too much.

I guess today was a decent day. My most anticipated game is technically unlocked now as I write this, though it will be a bit before I can try and play. Yesterday dad said he sent stuff for Xmas, so hopefully more cash help is on the way and I can save for bills. Maybe even extra to get some stuff when it comes up on sale (as it always does this time of year.)

I guess overall today was ok emotionally. The weather was a touch warmer still, and there were people out and about, with no sign of weirdness, so I feel pretty secure that my routine won't change. At least not for a bit until we get to Xmas week where things will no doubt get weird overall. But I feel a touch better emotionally, a touch worse physically (my physical health is getting pretty bad with all the closures and food limitations), and so I continue to try my best to hang on.

Day 4545 (V:269) - 12/10 - Very painful knees

Today my knees have been very painful if I kneel on them where the dry spots are. I put some cream on it this morning, but I don't expect they will be better for a week or two. I'll have to be extremely careful to do my best not to hurt them more until they can heal.

I guess it was an ok day other than that. I feel... weird. Maybe sad but not extra sad. I wonder if it's partly the new game. My world is very terrible and sad, and the world in the game is also struggling. I don't really think it could be that though, because I have been familiar with that world since the mid 80s when the pen and paper version first came out.

I think it's more likely my knees being hurt. It reminds me because of limitations I have in my life I am being hurt in different ways. I can't really take care of myself. And because the world is unlikely to change very soon, I grow more and more worried about the toll things like this will take on me before I can be somewhere safe.

But I can't control what I can't control. I can't be safe in ways I can't be safe. My limitations are what they are, and all I can do is my very small things to try my best to adapt. So I continue to try my best to hang on. And hopefully I can make it to better days.

Day 4546 (V:270) - 12/11 - Not the game

Today I feel better. I still feel a bit weird and a bit off, but not like yesterday. I played a bit of the new game last night and today, and the feelings almost certainly aren't because of the game. In fact, now that I'm getting used to how the systems work and finding out what I like I'm having a super fun time with it. Though it's far more of a role playing game than a shooter, so I'm only doing about one mission per play session. Which is totally fine. I just thought it would be the other way, more action than not. Though I'm still in sort of the starting area, so it may be more story heavy. I really like the stories and characters though, so it's fine taking it slower than I expected.

I guess today was ok. It was rainy and it got super cold in the afternoon. I'm a bit concerned though because this person seems to have 'moved in' around the corner of the building from me. Mostly I don't see him, but he's been by every day for about a week now. The reason I worry is because he doesn't fully seem stable. He will wander around and mumble to himself. He was talking to himself so loudly today that I could hear him from about 40 feet away, with my headphones on, with my game sound on. So I worry he will bring unwanted attention, or worse, cause people to panic and lock up the power outlets (or shut them off) in order to discourage people from being outside. If I lost this spot that would basically be it. The food store connection is no longer strong enough to use, and doesn't have power anyways. So if I lost power outside the library, then I'd still have a good signal, but only be able to use it a few hours with my laptop, or be limited to my tablet. All I can do is hope things work out, or better still he moves on and doesn't keep returning.

Everything is pretty terrible though, and I just have to try to accept what I can't control, try my best to distract myself, and hopefully I can hang on until better days.

Day 4547 (V:271) - 12/12 - No mumbler

Today seems better. I feel better emotionally, but still pretty off physically. My health is getting pretty bad and worrisome, especially since it's winter and I can't do things like try and work out a little to try and counter bad effects.

I suppose one good thing is the mumbler didn't show up at all while I was there. Hopefully this means they are gone and won't be back, but I won't feel safe until it's been a week since I've seen them.

I had fun with my games today. People are chatting a bit more than usual on the social pages, so I didn't quite feel as lonely. Though the temperature is back down to 35-55F, so overall it's very cold, and as such I feel very sad, lonely, and fearful of my health for the future.

But as always, there isn't anything I can control. So all I can do is try to continue to hang on as best as I can.

Day 4548 (V:272) - 12/13 - Sort of vacation

Today I am on a sort of vacation. I got word in the morning the ex-roomie who doesn't want me around is out of town for work for a while. So the ex-roomie who would be ok with my being in the garage until I have a home again said it was ok for me to be in there.

So today was a pretty good day. I got to be with my stuff, and as part of that I could bundle up a fair bit more than usual. While I couldn't say I was "nice and warm" I was 'warmer than usual', which is something.

I also got money from dad, and in a huge surprise it was both a higher amount than he usually sends, and it was cash. So I decided to spend a bit on two games that were on pretty big sale which have been on my wish list for quite a while. I think both were on there for about a year. So that is super happy. The rest will be saved for bills. It seems there are always bills to worry about even though I have so few. I have the fix it ticket soon, and thankfully a little break until about May, but pretty soon I'll have some big ones again.

The only sad part about today (other than my normal sad things) is there seems to be a higher than normal amount of dust and such in the garage, and it's been triggering my asthma. I think it's because I got into some stuff I haven't been into for a while. I'm not super bad, but I am struggling a bit. I took an allergy pill and it didn't seem to do anything. I really wish I could still get the over the counter inhalers. They weren't great, but in minor attacks like this it would be enough.

So today was a pretty good day. And I will try to hang on to better times as much as I can while I have a chance.

Day 4549 (V:273) - 12/14 - The big sleep

Today started later than I expected. While I did 'get in bed' later than I thought I would, I slept for what was at least 10 hours. I can't think of the last time I slept more than 8. Usually I average 7-8 most days, closer to 7 than not, 6 if there is trouble and I'm worried. I don't know if it is my body trying to catch up a bit, or the allergies, or a cold, or what.

I started the day feeling good, but now I feel kind of bad. My heart feels not the best, and my mid and lower back are killing me. I'm sitting nearly identically to how I do outside, and it's not like I get a lot of activity on a normal day, so that's not different. So I don't know why things feel bad and are hurting. I guess I should take some pain pills, but I don't know how much they will help.

I'm feeling pretty good being with my stuff emotionally, but as always there is a sadness too. That it's all in boxes and I don't know when, or if, I will ever be back in a home again.

Day 4550 (V:274) - 12/15 - Vacation Tuesday

Today will be another vacation-like day. I don't know what the day will hold. I should still have enough food I don't need to go out. Basically food is on a two day cycle. So hopefully I can continue to rest, try to relax, and do my best to continue to hang on through these terrible days. And hopefully I can make it to better days ahead.

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