Sunday, September 18, 2005

Better than astrology!!!

I got myself a Random Number Generator. I guess you could say it is a new toy. I have been wanting one of these for a while. It is a long story. Some holdover from strat-o-matic baseball I guess. Do you know strat-o-matic? You roll three dice and the mathematical chances which rule these number combinations (1-6 for the first die and of course the 36 permutations of the 2 die combination for the other) are applied to cards baring baseball statistics broken down to relate to the results of the dice. 5-7, Mark Maguire hits a home run 2-7 Randy Johnson strikes him out. Or then again, maybe this is one of those “beautiful mind” psychosis things. I suppose there is a mathematical chance that that is true.

And this is the point really of a Random Number Generator. It is all based on an algorithm, finding the esoteric permutations of numerical possibilities. There is no particular rhyme or reason. It is all pure extrapolation, rolling the dice. They had this plastic ball filled with water and an eight sided die called the EIGHT BALL when I was growing up. Perhaps they still do. And you would ask the eight ball questions and then shake it. After a second the die would slowly rise from the inky liquid and you could read what was written on one of the eight sides through the window. “There is every chance that this is true.” it would say. Or “I don’t see that there is a possibility.” The eight ball knew, don’t you see. It knew. Great toy.

So after searching around a bit, I got this Random Number Generator off of the web. And it was really cool for a bit. I played around with some things from the strat-o-matic days, invented some game possibilities which require these sorts of things. And then Tanya came over and asked what I was doing. “Well, I have this new toy and it predicts mathematical possibilities.”
“What does that mean?”
“I don’t know how to explain it. I’ll show it to you though. Pick a number between 1 and 100.”
“Ok…73.” I pushed the button and the Random Number Generator came up with the number 38.
“No, you were wrong.”
“What do you mean I was wrong?”
“You picked the wrong number.”
“You said the number would be 73. But it wasn’t, it was 38.”
“That’s stupid.”
“No it isn’t. Here try again. This time, pick a number between one and twenty.”
“Ok. Eleven.”
“No, it was 8.”
“Let me try again.”
”Ok, now pick one between one and six.”
“Nope. You are not very good at this.”
“Ok, I’ll make it easy. We’ll do it like a coin flip. One or two.”
“You win.”
“I did.”
“Try again.”
“Ok, two again.”
“You win again.”
“This is fun.”
“It is always fun when you win.”
“No, it has to be either one or two.”
“No, try it one out of three.”
“Ah, so you only want a 33 percent chance to be right?”
“Let’s try.”

So we did this for a while and then I came up with some sort of a chart depicting Egpr’s chess results for his current tournament. He won today by the way. And, if I am not guilty of a little pride, he was also ranked first in this particular tournament. Anyway, the chart depicted how he has fared against ranked opponents. In other words, he has won 85 % of his games against kids ranked in the 1600’s and 69% against 1700 players. And of course the numbers go down the higher ranked his opponent until we find that he has only one win and a few ties against folks above a certain level and so we stopped there. Then of course we used the Random Number Generator to give us a number and we ran an imaginary tournament where Egor played against an imaginary group of players ranked similarly to his opponents in his chess group. And of course, we got an outcome that amazingly enough, looked a lot like how his tournaments usually come out.

Then we did one about money. We asked about how much money we would be receiving. We staggered the numbers from between zero and a million bucks and assigned mathematical probability of this happening.

“Are you ready? I asked.
“I am not sure how this works.”
“Well, we are asking for a number between one and a thousand. Whatever the number is, it will indicate the amount of money we would receive. We pretty much can’t receive nothing, so our randomly generated number would have to be only one or two for that to happen.”
“And what?”
“And of course for the high numbers, you know, we would need a high number. For example we would need 999 for the million.”
“Ok, let’s try.”
“Do you want to?”
“I’ll do it.” And she grabbed the mouse and the number 87 showed up.
“87? What does that mean?”
“$50? That isn’t very good.”
“Do it again.”
“I think you are only supposed to do it once.”
“I am doing it again.” And she grabbed the mouse and clicked.
“863… $100,000.” I said.
“Yea, but it doesn’t count.”
“Why not?”
“Well, the drama is only there the first time…”
“Fuck the drama, I want the money!”
“Look, don’t get upset it is just a machine.”
“I say the second one counted as much as the first.”
“Of course it did. It was just a random number.” I started clicking the machine as fast as I could and lots of randomly generated numbers showed up on the screen.
“You see, it is meaningless.” She frowned at me.
“Let’s do something else.”
“Ok, I have an idea. Let’s ask it a question. And the question has to be phrased like this: What is the percentage of the chance that so and so will occur? Then, I will set up the Random Number Generator to give us a number of between one and a hundred, and we will use that as our answer. Like a percentage, Ok? I’ll go first. Uh… what is the chance that we will get married?”
“That is a terrible question!”
”I know, let’s see though.”

We get married = 30

We laughed. “You see?” I said. “This machine knows.”
“You are such an ass.”
“There is a 30% chance!”
“Shut up.”
“Ok, you go. Ask a question.”
“Ok… Will Egor win his chess tournament?”

Egor wins the tournament = 66

“That’s good!”
“It is good. And that is a pretty accurate number I would say.”
“Ok, you go.”
“Me again...Ok… uh…what is the chance of us having sex in the next five minutes?”
“I would say zero.”
“Well, we are just looking for the percentage. The odds are against the number 100 showing up, but it could.”
“It won’t.”
“It could.”

Have sex in the next five minutes = 13

“Pretty slim.”
“Pretty accurate though.”
“Yea, but there was a chance.”
“There was no chance…”
“There was a 13 percent chance.”
“Ok, it is my turn. Will Anya walk within the month?”
“Good question.”

Anya will walk = 47

“This machine is very good.”
“Yea, it is a little too good.”
“Go ahead. Ask a question.”
“Will I ever finish my work today?” She laughed.

Will I finish my work today = 41

‘That’s about right.”
“Sssh. I want to ask. Will I be happy in my life?”
“That’s a hard question.”
“Go ahead.”

Will Tatyana be happy = 33

The answer hit her hard. I was starting to regret getting into this.
“Ok, I want to know the same question: Will I be happy?”

Will Adam be happy = 51

“Better than half! Not bad. “
“This is true. I can see this because I must clean after you.”
“I like this machine.”
“It is my turn now. Will I have a good job?

Will Tatyana have a good job = 4

There was silence. I immediately thought of Lukashenka. And then I completely understood that this is why this always happens around here. Everybody blames the man for these sorts of things. Tatyana had a tear in her eye. This game was killing her. It was my turn. Lukashenka had me thinking about the UN Summit.
“Will we ever see world peace?”
“What is this?” She didn’t understand the phrase. I translated it into Russian.
“Oh, peace in the world.”
“Yea, will we have this?”

Will there ever be world peace = 12


We watched a movie the other night called “How we live in America.” And there was scene where the father gambles the rent money at a carnival trying to win a doll for his daughter by throwing a tennis ball into a milk can. Again and again he bet double or nothing trying to get his money back and get the doll. As he misses again and again and again. It is a great scene and you get the feeling that your soul is simply dropping out of your body with grief for them every time he misses. This Random Number Generator was getting to us in the same way. I wanted to quit, but Tatyana went on.

“Will Egor receive a good education?”

Will Egor have a good education = 80

“This is the truth.”
“Yea, I can see this happening.”
“Ask again.”
“I don’t know…”
Will I be able to stay?” I asked. She grew quiet.

Will Adam be able to stay? = 24

“Will I stay with Adam forever?” I laughed.
“I suppose that this has to do with the happiness question?”
“It is a good question.”
“It is. Ok, I’ll ask.”

Will Tatyana stay with Adam forever? = 69

We both laughed. “See there you go.” I though about something and then decided to ask a different question instead.

Will Adam live to be more than 75? = 69

”It was the same!”
“You were going to ask if you were going to stay with me, weren’t you?”
“That’s true, I was.”
“That’s the real answer.”
”You know, if I had known it would have been the same number…”
”It is fate. Other than this is impossible.”
“This thing is scary.”
“No, it is the truth.”
“I don’t know about that.”
“Otherwise is impossible.”
“Well, it is 100 to 1. It’s not impossible. “
“It was a million percent!”
“This thing is very dangerous…”
“I want to ask more. Will Anya be happy in her life?”
“Are you sure you want to ask this?”

Will Anya be happy in her life? = 15

She went yellow. I quickly asked another question.

Will Lukashenka be re-elected? = 58

“Look at this damned thing!”
“But Anya…”
“It is only a percentage chance.”
“Will I be healthy till the end of my life?”

Will Tatyana be healthy to the end? = 52

“There you go. Now you’re talking.”
“Yes, that was good.”

Will this blog become popular and my life made better because of it? 16

“Well, you know…”
“I want to ask. Will the blog make us some money?”

Will the blog get us some money? = 44

“That’s good. That’s ok. Forty four is good. “
“Will my children be healthy?” We both stopped.
“You know, you really shouldn’t ask these questions…” I couldn’t help thinking about that movie.
“I am sorry I asked. I am scared…”
“I don’t have to do this. I don’t have to push that button. “
“Do it.”
“Just do it. I want to know.”

Will my children be healthy? = 28

I looked at the Random Number Generator. Tanya was really crying now. It was like her heart simply broke right then and there. It was evil. I could see it now. Why couldn’t I see it before? It was playing with us. I looked at the graphic and the organized way the machine was set up. Why did I download this? What did I need from this thing? Tatyana was openly sobbing. She looked up at me.
“Do you wanna ask any more?” I asked her.
“You do?”
“Maybe we should quit?”
“Just one more.”
“Ok, but just this last one.”
“Ok, I agree.”

Will we have a calm, nice house? = 7

That was the end of that.

After a while Egor came home with a friend and they played together in his room. Tanya and I hung out together. We made some jelly for the winder out of apples, beets and some hot peppers. Wonderful stuff. And then we played with the girl. The experience with the Random Number Generator brought us together I guess. Random Number Generator. How stupid. And then, when the other room finally became free I came in to work and eventually had the idea to write this story.

But then after a while the thought hit me. Why not? It all seemed kind of funny looking back. Yea, it was only fun.

I looked around. I could hear Tanya talking to Egor in the kitchen. Anya was having her last nap of the day. Nobody was around. I can do this, I thought. I was not afraid. And you know, I simply couldn’t help it. I had to do it. I had to know.

What is the percentage of the chance that you are accurate?

Is the Random Number Generator accurate? = 6… 6… 6…

New chapters from the book are over on the book site. Lots of stuff happening in the news. Hopefully I will have something to help business-wise very soon. We do not have forever.

Thanks for reading me.

Oh, and by the way, just so you know, I had thought about faking that last number of the story and writing a 100 in there. Just for the drama and all. But instead I muscled up my courage and did actually ask the question. The number that came up was absolutely and factually 66. No joke.

But, I knew what it meant.

More soon…