About two weeks ago I timidly added a donation prompt on KernType for a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for my new MacBook Air, which only appeared after completing the third stage of the game:

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Since then, it has generated only two donations from two very kind people whom I don’t know. Thank you very much. I have already removed the prompt becuase—in my hasty implementation—it actually blocked some users from playing the game, and also because of some uneasy sensations about asking for money. I’ll explain later.

As you can see from the screenshot, I’m fundraising to raise money for my new MacBook Air M2. I had to replace my ailing 2013 MacBook Pro because it became unusable after the networking card gave out. With a dead trackpad and keyboard I called it quits. It was not worth reviving through a repair.

I was in talks (and spec work) with a digital agency to create a game for a prestigious client which would finance my new computer equipment, the project keeps being pushed back time (today they quoted Q1 2024), so I bought a new computer without the means to pay for it.

Then I lost my aging iPhone 6s. I take full responsibility for this. I was careless in losing it and recovering it. The next day I had no other option to walk into the Apple Store and buy an iPhone SE. With my credit card maxed out I had to pay in cash, and was left with barely enough to make it through the week.

To cover my expenses I begun doing deliveries through DoorDash, which is ironic because I worked as a Product Designer for Cabify, particularly on their driver app. It’s interesting being on the other side of the gig economy, perhaps the topic of a different post.

Delivering through DoorDash is fun and engaging when it’s not your primary source of income. When you depend on it to make ends meet, it’s drudgery. It soon became clear I would only be able to cover for my living expenses doing this, so I signed up for a clinical trial where would be ingesting an innocuous combination of drugs which is unproven in Canada (paracetamol and naproxen). If admitted, it would pay enough to cover for my computer and my phone, plus a bit of debt, but my entry into the study was not guaranteed, so I continued dashing (with a delightfully embarrassing delivery).

As often happen to people who are on a shoestring budget, the money constraint causes more mishaps down the line. Since I don’t own a bike, I was using Bixi, Montreal’s bike sharing network. I didn’t want to use my meager funds to buy a lock, so I would just park it while doing deliveries. However a guy took my bike, I chased him down the street for a couple of blocks but he outpaced me. I reported this to Bixi and the police. Today, a week later, the bike has not appeared and I’m on the hook for another $1,000 CAD with a blocked Bixi account [edit: today they told me I would have to pay a $50 CAD fee, I was already looking forward to combing Montreal’s homeless encampments in search of the bike].

Inbetween all of this, a tragedy occurred where a friend stabbed the owner of a hostel where I had volunteered. The owner is an exploitative narcissist and I understand why it happened though I do not justify it. This does not add to my financial woes, but it tints life with bleak colors. I’m still looking for Steve. At least I can say I don’t have it worse than him.

To top everything off, I was barely getting enough sleep because I’m sleeping in the living room of a shared apartment on a leaky air mattress without being able to afford curtains to partition some privacy or even block the early morning sunlight of Montreal. The building is infested with cockroaches and they wake me up when they crawl on me at night. Stuff of nightmares.

I felt like a character from a novel of Dostoevsky.

Then I got a call for the clinical study. I hadn’t made it into the study, but I was on stand by, this meant I would only get in if a participant lost his spot because of unavailability or failing their drug test. I would be admitted into the clinic for the first night along with the participants, in case anybody had to be replaced. Being there on admission day as early as possible would improve my chances. Admission was at 5:30pm, I was there at 7:30am. At lunchtime I went to McDonald’s. My turn was 777. The person who handed me my hamburger said “It’s your lucky day”. I responded “I sure hope so”. Nobody was rejected the night of admission, and I spent the night at the clinic. In the morning, a single participant had high blood pressure. He was rejected and I made my way in the study. It was my lucky day.

This is not to sell a sob story. I feel strangely hopeful about everything. I can only describe it as faith, I know in my heart everything will be fine. The bewilderment of this period will yield a creative outcome which I can’t imagine yet. I’m strangely serene through this whole ordeal.

Right now I’m sitting in the clinic where we are interned from Tuesday night to Saturday morning, for four weeks. Other than being drawn blood 15 times yesterday all is OK. I have plenty of time to do computer work. Yet I’m finding it impossible to fix my campaign prompts. Something felt wrong.

As I played around with my own games I found a couple of bugs. Bugs took me down rabbit holes. Rabbit holes gave me new ideas. In the path of least resistance, I’m finding it much easier to fix and improve my games rather than to add prompts for donation. So this is what I will do: I will dedicate my periods of confinement to improve what I have already created, and I will document the process in this blog. At the end of this clinical study I will add the donation prompts to the games, if it feels correct.

Meanwhile, I won’t prevent anyone from contributing to my campaign, but I ask that if you are already a backer to please refrain from contributing again. There was a recent tweet from Naval that really got to me:

It’s time for me to sell something, but I still need help to get there.

Thank you.