Taking a chance on roulette – free man’s writing

FRIDAY, 3 NOVEMBER 2006

18:11

[Background: In October 2006, I read in an e-book about a certain Roulette strategy that people apparently use to make money at online casinos. The strategy requires that you wait for something to not happen for a few spins and then you start placing a series of bets on that thing happening shortly. If you do not win on the first spin of the wheel, you increase your stake a little bit. If you do not win on the second spin, you do it again. In theory, you are supposed to win after a few spins, and because you progressively bet more with each spin, you should win all the money back that you have lost until that point. The progression of increasingly higher stakes goes up to 11 bets. But, explains the guy from the e-book, don’t worry too much about this because the progression of bets rarely goes that high.]

I’ll be quick.

Last Friday I made a deposit at [an online casino], and by Wednesday I started “working”. Thursday (yesterday) I deposited R200 at [another casino], and half an hour later I started playing there as well.

One thing did make me a little nervous: What happens if the column where I place increasingly higher stakes still hasn’t come up after 11 spins? I knew this was technically possible, and the e-book guy who initially brought the Roulette story to my attention said something about 94.6%.

Third session at [the first casino], it happens: seventh spin, eighth spin (I gulp), ninth spin … tenth spin … “Now it has to work …” I place R67 on the column for the eleventh and hopefully final round of the series. Click “Spin” … and it loses.

“Okay,” I thought, “the other day I worked out you play R101 if you lose 11 times in a row.” Place the bet. Click. Spin. Lose. White in the face. Move a R25-chip with a shaky hand to the edge of the offending column. Spin. Win. R75. I have R99 left in my account. I just lost R241.

MONDAY, 20 NOVEMBER 2006

17:45

I am tired. I am tired of so-called money projects that either never get done, or that move three steps forward, and 2.999 steps back.

I want – I need to and I want to forget about money for just one evening, or for just one night and a day, or maybe even for one night and the rest of the week. Because at this stage, tonight, even success may be too much for me.

WEDNESDAY, 22 NOVEMBER 2006

15:12

Brand thinks his life is boring and he doesn’t spend enough time doing what he enjoys. The only way he can make his daily life bearable is to convince himself that things will be different in six months’ time. In six months’ time his life will be more exciting; in six months he will spend more time on the things he enjoys – writing, studying, and so on.

What Brand does not realize – or maybe he does realize this, but he is apparently powerless or unwilling to do anything about it – is that “six months” is renewed every six months. Every six months he swears anew: “In six months’ time …”

Or, closer to reality: Every day a previous six-month period ends. Every day he solemnly commits himself to the following six months.

Every day, every month, every year. Every six months.

Is he powerless to break this seemingly endless cycle? Is he going to turn 37, and 40, and 45 and 50 and still believe that everything will be different in six months’ time?

No one can be blamed if they thought, “I sure am glad I’m not this Brand fellow.”

I don’t have that option. I have no choice but to look myself in the mirror and say: “It is me, this ‘Brand’. It is I who cannot turn my goals into reality.” Or can I? (Just had to ask, otherwise it looks like I don’t have any faith in myself.)

FRIDAY, 24 NOVEMBER 2006

The students are busy with their writing exercises, so I am sitting here doing nothing. I have nothing to say. I am tired, and a little discouraged. I am 35 years old. My biggest writing project thus far is finished, and I know how to reach my target audience – I even how to get them to pay for what they read. I do have to raise a shitload of money to pay for proofreading and stuff like that, though. I also have to raise a shitload of money to pay for – and here I am sincere when I say I am blessed – Natasja’s and my wedding [we had gotten engaged recently]. I also have to raise a shitload of money to have my teeth fixed, pay off my debt, sort out my stuff in South Africa, and go on vacation early next year. I also have to raise a shitload of money to try and alleviate my parents’ suffering. I also have to raise a shitload of money to invest in projects that can continue to earn me lots of money in the future so I can continue to be what I am now: a free man.

SATURDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2006

If you strive for personal freedom, but at the cost of another person’s quest for personal freedom, then you are not serving the cause of freedom; you are merely serving your own selfish needs.

WEDNESDAY, 29 NOVEMBER 2006

11:15

My writing projects served a purpose in the past – they had to provide proof of my existence in a period of my life when there was, for the most part, no one to verify it – or no one that meant much to me or to whom I meant anything. (The idea was inspired by the 2004 film Shall We Dance? Susan Sarandon’s character explains in one scene that in a marriage the two people agree to be witnesses to each other’s lives.)

My question is: When I return to fresh literary projects, what purpose will they serve then? Possibly the same? Difference in degree with some other motives?

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