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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 14: Distant Memories

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 709

Day 4957 (V:681) - 1/26 - Feeling defeated

Today was not a very good day. I felt extremely sad, and very defeated. I confirmed yesterday at the library hours are back to their every day open times. And I think it had just hit me more and more since then, especially with the likelihood of not being able to get more classes until September at the soonest, added to the loss of my new laptop, that this is it. My days feel like they will indefinitely bleed into each other, never changing, never a hope to find a new job, let alone a good one. Never a real break on food because school will remain closed-ish for at least the next 8 months from the looks of it. And being on my old laptop even new games are practically an impossiblity.

I haven't given up on the (dead) laptop. The place I complained to said they notified the company and they should respond within 10 days. And I have a lead on a shop someone has said has been helpful to them in the past.

And I am trying not to give up on me. I try to remember I am creative. I can solve problems. I have not become too old, too forgotten, or too discarded.

But things are very difficult. Things are very restricted, low, and limited. And I am having the hardest times.

Day 4958 (V:682) - 1/27 - Blinded by stress

Today a few times my eyes got a C shaped blind spot and very slowly cleared over about 45 minutes. I guess it wasn't too terrible. I was just watching videos at the time, but still. I can only guess it's from the stress of the dead laptop. I tried something last night and actually made a discovery that may be a hint at what is wrong. The power brick has always had a slight 'bzzz' when plugged in. I never thought much of it because over the years I've had maybe 6-7 power bricks and at least two others before had a similar sound when charged. But what I noticed is that now, after the death, when the power brick is also plugged in to the dead laptop that changes to a 'bzzzClick... bzzzClick...' that cycles about every second. It sounds like an old school phone line trying to connect. Which makes sense I guess, as both repair places said it wasn't a power issue. Whatever it is, based on that sound, it seems like maybe the laptop isn't correctly connecting to the power supply anymore.

I haven't heard back from the fancy complaint place. They are waiting for the company to respond. I didn't see anywhere too add this new information in my ticket, but I guess I'll try to get a recording. It's maybe like -60 db, so it will be tough, but I think my recording stuff should be able to pick it up.

I think the spider is gone from the car. The mirror doesn't have any web on it, just the remains of one that was there maybe a week ago. I still remember trying to 'encourage' the spider to go to nearby plants when I first saw them by destroying their web and scaring them. But then I immediately felt very sad seeing them jump into the mirror to hide, and their home destroyed. I never did it again after that first time. And many times their web was actually quite beautiful, especially if it had some dew or was partly frozen. I don't know how long spiders normally live, but I hope they found a better place to make a home and live than my sad car.

Day 4959 (V:683) - 1/28 - Sort of contact

Today I got a sort of contact about the laptop. I got an email late morning with a 'do not reply' style return address from a person at the company saying she called two days ago, yesterday, and today. Yet I have no listing of her number on my phone, nor was it listed in the blocked numbers. I am hoping what happened is that she called very early my time, when the phone is told to not let calls through. (Though I'm pretty sure it would have still told me there was a call.) But why wait until the third day of trying to call before sending an email? And why when you do would you not use an address someone could respond to?

I am still trying to hope for a good replacement offer, but at this point I am down to only about $100, and none of that should be spent. Additionally since I didn't get a hold of her today when I tried calling, that means I won't hear back until Monday at the earliest. I really hope she responds via email like I asked though. I can attach things if need be, and I won't forget what was said that way. Plus, email won't burn up what few monthly minutes I have since it's infinite.

I am still very broken hearted and exhausted from all of this. Someone invited me to something fun in my MMO today, but I had to pass because of how sad I feel. I didn't want to ruin their fun by saying or doing something because I feel sad, brokenhearted, and a little mad.

But all I can do is try to continue to hang on. And try to stay hopeful for a fix or replacement for my lost laptop.

Day 4960 (V:684) - 1/29 - Ate outside

Today I was pretty super sad and brokenhearted again. I took a break and ate outside when I got hungry for afternoon snack. I didn't play much, so I watched a lot of cat and bunny videos to try and feel better.

No news about the laptop, but that won't happen until Monday, so I tried to hang on. And hopefully I can make it to better days.

Day 4961 (V:685) - 1/30 - Found messages

Today I feel pretty brokenhearted and sad still. I've hardly played anything at all. It was the first inside Sunday in a long time, so at least there is that.

Last night I couldn't sleep. Ever since getting the email from the laptop person my mind has kept going over and over things and obsessing about what may or may not be said or done. I checked, double checked, and triple checked that I showed no calls or messages from her. Though I don't see how I would have, since I had the phone propped up on my laptop right in my view ever since I got that email. Though when I pressed the messages button on the phone app it showed 'visual voicemail unavailable', so I manually had it call to check for messages. And there were five messages left by her at some point. (They didn't reference the time or day.) And there were 15 messages in total. This made me wonder, who were these other people? And why did I not see their calls?

It occurred to me that I had Wi-Fi calling off forever, maybe ever since way back in the before time when I was at school. But about a month ago I made sure it was on and I was connected at the library so I could, in theory, get calls about the laptop repair and talk for free. (Though I guess my plan no longer has free Wi-Fi call time.) But then I realized, I never got calls from either of the two repair places, who only would have been open while I was at the library. I always had to call them to get updates. So I turned off the Wi-Fi calling. I wonder; is it possible it has done the opposite of what I wanted? By turning it on, was it somehow not getting calls, not registering them, and just automatically pushing them to voice mail, where it then didn't show I had a message?

Since turning it off last night, I have gotten two spam calls, and both left messages, so it seems maybe having Wi-Fi calling on at the library was indeed somehow blocking a majority of the calls. (I was previously still getting spam calls, but not message notification.) I guess I'll know for sure if I get a call from the laptop person tomorrow.

I do hope it's super good news. I do hope she feels very sad and has the authority to help me for free. At this point I barely have $100 left in total due to losing a lot in the other repair attempts. And even if I don't spend any of that, I'll still be short on the mid-year bills coming in just a few months. (Assuming no unexpected help comes, and I get no gift money useable for bills.)

So for today all I can do is just keep trying to hang on. And hopefully more bad things don't happen. And maybe even with the phone change she can get through to me with good news.

Day 4962 (V:686) - 1/31 - Corpse in the trunk

Today I have had the corpse of the dead laptop in my trunk. I was hoping for good news on the laptop and I'd be rushing it off to be mailed as soon as possible, but I guess it will likely be remaining a corpse. I finally got a hold of the person and their 'very best offer' was to charge half of the original statement, and that would cover shipping both ways, which after tax would be around $425. There is no way I have that much. I have already lost nearly $200 that's unrecoverable in costs trying to fix it, and maybe if that had been the original estimate I could have considered it. But I don't know, even if I could afford that, really? Half the cost of the real world value of such a laptop that's brand new with full coverage? For something that died way too soon, and after repair would barely have 90 days more of coverage?

The offer will stand for 30 days, but I really think it's better to not give them more money. I just don't trust them. They should be doing this free, especially since I didn't cause any damage to the system, and they seem to have no understanding of why it died. This would have huge value to research and development. If they found the fault, and it would be avoidable, that would greatly benefit their laptop design in the future, and their brand name for adding improvements in protection. But saying, 'whelp, you had 1 year coverage, you are past that, so too bad you have to pay replacement cost,' is ridiculous.

So I am back to where I was one year and nearly five months ago, waiting and hoping to somehow save up enough for a new laptop. (Ideally from the brand I trust.) And hanging on to my nearing 9-year-old laptop and hoping it doesn't die in the meantime.

I can't believe the $1200 I got for stimulus is just wasted like this. Gone as if it never happened. Maybe I will sell the corpse in a month when the offer wears off (but keep the OS drive to be safe). But being let down by the hardware dying at just over a year when it should have lasted at least 3 years, and being let down by a brand who at the time were claiming to be the "#1 brand" at the time of purchase, is mindboggling and heartbreaking.

Day 4963 (V:687) - 2/1 - Return to where you were before

Today I will be fully settling in to my life I had before my new laptop; physically and emotionally. I will try and put this travesty of a tragedy behind me. I will never trust Acer again, and recommend everyone else avoid them as well. Not supporting products after a far too short coverage period is unacceptable, and shameful.

But all I can do is try to set aside the pain and loss, try to move forward, and try to hang on to hope that someday I can try to get a new laptop again, or that someone will do the unthinkable and send one from my wish list. And hopefully next time it can be with the brand I've known and trusted for 13 years.

Week 710

Day 4964 (V:688) - 2/2 - Corpse surgery in the morning

Today I was obsessed about the dead laptop. My brain still can't fathom how it just went flat dead. In checking and finding dozens of posts in the past few years with effectively the same issue as mine there were more than a couple like me who reference never having a problem like this with years of use of other manufacturer's laptops. It seems not completely uncommon for this brand to have laptops just die for no reason. It is truly mindboggling they don't take them back and send the customer a new one to research what is going on. I guess they figure a few customers out of probably hundreds of thousands a year should just be blown off and ignored.

At this point there are only two checks left I'm willing to try before leaving it sealed until my offer runs out (on the off chance I get the money and feel they are worthy of it), then abandon the corpse. The first is pretty simple, yet I expect no new results, and that is simply leave everything plugged in overnight. Maybe if it's just a connection difficulty issue that will jump start what is stuck. And the second and final thing will be surgery in the morning. I'll pull off the cpu/gpu/cpu chips heat sync and see if anything looks weird. There were a couple of posts from people who said the system had the same symptoms as mine and they found the issue was this gum-like thermal pad had slipped off position and caused a short since things were then touching the copper cooler directly. So what I'll do is pop that off, and see if when I plug it in it shows the power connected ready light. Then I'll do just a very brief start to see if it starts. If it does then I'll order new paste, take it off again when it comes and repaste all the things.

I don't know, I don't feel very hopeful. At this point mentally I've accepted it's death, but emotionally it still is keeping me up at night. And often during the day I can't stop obsessing about it and being stressed out. Especially on days like today when my old one can't play a game that I'm playing at a decent enough frame rate for me to progress, or like how it dropped wireless connection about every 30 minutes, then as often as every 5 minutes as the day went on. Everything is such a struggle to barely hang on with the old one. ... Much like how I feel all the time. Old. Tired. And barely able to hang on and get through even things that should be enjoyable to do.

Day 4965 (V:689) - 2/3 - Necromancy failure

Today I feel sad. I was kept up last night. I'm not sure why, but I barely got 4-5 hours of sleep. My throat feels a bit rough, and I've been sneezing a few times a day, and my eyes still have that migraine and eyelid pulsing going on.

My attempt at necromancy failed. I expected that would probably be the case. But there were a couple of posts with my exact 'no lights, doesn't power on' issue that mentioned removing the copper cooler revealed the cheap and terrible thermal paste had slipped out of place and contact with stuff caused shorts. I did try to pop it off, but didn't fully remove it due to keeping it connected so it would register the fans were still attached. I know it can boot without the hard drive, so I left that in storage. Sadly it showed no signs of life. The same dead state. I did get a peek at the utter garbage they used for thermal paste though. The only way I can describe it is like pink play dough that got overly dried and cracked, and was completely powered to dust in some parts. But, with showing no signs of possible life, there is no point in removing it all the way, buying new paste, and repasting it.

So that's it. I now officially fully give up. I will keep it until the end of the month when the reduced replacement offer expires, but really even at the reduced price of about $425 that seems unreasonable. Sure, that would replace everything, but at what cost? I have no guarantee something won't happen again after the few months coverage it would have after that. And honestly I'd rather do something like get a laptop I found for cheap at like $850, or one on sale for as low as maybe $650, and then have something brand new, especially if I had the extra money to do the special 4 years of coverage (usually about +$150).

So today I feel sad. I feel taken advantage of. I feel sick and broken and exhausted. But all I can do at this point is try to let go. And try to move on, pretending I never got the stimulus money, never bought the system, and that company that is treating me badly does not exist.

Day 4966 (V:690) - 2/4 - Difficulty letting go

Today I am having a lot of difficulty letting go of the dead laptop. I again got obsessed for a few hours with searching for posts and videos of things to try. I did find a new place to ask for help, but have effectively tried all versions of 'remove this, reset that' several times by now. I really don't expect to get any suggestions of things to try I haven't done. And really I wonder as more time passes if my battery is dead. Even if it only lost 3% of charge per day there is really no chance it would still have a charge. The power supply is supposed to be good, but what if that has gone bad too? It's very difficult letting go. In all my years of using computers and console systems, never have I ever lost hardware like this. Going from fully working with no indications of issues to completely dead and not reparable by easy fixes is mindboggling.

I've regained a lot of stress today. And my throat still doesn't feel great with this cold. I've had about four sneezes today, and some lung congestion, but I'm mostly just exhausted. There is a new very minor ear ringing, but thankfully the extreme migraines seem to have stopped.

All I can do is continue to try to let go. Continue to maybe hope someone sees my posts and has a solution. And try to continue to make it through to better days.

Day 4967 (V:691) - 2/5 - Pulling it all off

Today I was talking with someone about an issue they were having with their system and I was reminded of one of the things I used to say to help troubleshoot things, which was, 'detach everything that can be, and see if it works then.' I suppose, while everything is needed in a laptop, I technically haven't tried detaching everything. I guess I forgot to reattach the battery after my test yesterday, so that has been unattached for about 24 hours by the time I can get back to it. But I guess there is no harm in trying to detach the fans, keyboard, daughterboard, speakers, and anything else I see, then see if it shows the 'I'm plugged in' light, and put things back a few at a time if it does.

I'm not hopeful though. At this point I've tested everything possible without engineering knowledge of how to fix a dead motherboard. But you never know, I suppose a miracle can still happen.

I'm very super tired today. I feel very defeated and worn out. I suppose nothing new that is bad happened, so there is that. But nothing good happened either, at least not yet. So things seem the same forever bad that they always are.

Day 4968 (V:692) - 2/6 - Avoid brown experiment

Today I am avoiding brown soda that I normally drink. More and more lately my tummy has been very upset, having maybe a ginger or earthy type acid flavor. I think that flavor is in my brown soda, so I will avoid it for a few days and see if I feel better.

I've had pretty massive headaches and eye pain today though, so I hope that is not a caffeine withdrawal from not having brown soda. It may be from stress due to the dead laptop. I've had a pretty unbelievable lot of extra stress and depression from that. I hope I can let it go soon. Yesterday I did some very last tests of unplugging things in the system I could unplug. While not much, maybe eight things, as expected there was no change. Nor did putting them back a few at a time have any change. So, with having done all the plug, unplug, reset, tests possible several times, it is very clear whatever is wrong is something I can't fix, leaving me to pay the company a minimum of $425 by the end of the month to swap for a refurbished one that would have a couple months coverage, or saving double to triple that for something brand new from my preferred manufacturer with way better coverage and hopefully a bit extra to get the special four years of extra coverage from the online site I'd buy it from.

I guess the day was pretty regular other than that. I am tired, sad, exhausted, heartbroken, and have lost interest in doing much of anything. But I'm trying to hang on as best as I can.

Day 4969 (V:693) - 2/7 - Lost interest in everything

Today I have pretty much lost interest in everything. I did just the minimal daily things in my MMO and shooter and don't really feel like playing more or watching anything.

I hope I stop feeling depressed soon. I hope the migraines and extreme exhaustion go away. After all these tests, so many times, and not spilling on or dropping the laptop, its death was not my fault. And there is nothing I can do to revive it. The manufacturer treating everyone badly is a thing that happened to me. My being in a bad spot 1.25 years ago and not being able to go with the manufacturer I know and trust is a thing that happened to me. These things are not my fault. Getting past that seems difficult, and I can't stop feeling like, "why me?"

All I can do is try to hang on as best as I can.

Day 4970 (V:694) - 2/8 - Tuesday

Today I don't know what to expect. I have been very extra depressed since the laptop death and being thrown back to where I was emotionally over a year ago. And I've had some kind of cold lately, so that doesn't help.

It seems all I can do is try to deal with things one day at a time. And try my best to hang on until better days.

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