For my final, I worked on improving my tabomancy Chrome extension that would give you a daily fortune based on how many tabs you have opened.
I didn’t quite get it to work perfectly, and there’s a lot more that could be done with the writing as well. But the main change I made, technically, was for the fortune to show up every time you created a new tab in your browser, rather than having to click on the little extension icon. You only get one fortune a day, and when your fortune isn’t “ready” yet, it shows you the image above. It now calculates your fortune after you have opened 6 new tabs (and it doesn’t matter if you open them all in a row, or if you closed some, or how much time has passed between opening them). At that moment, it counts how many tabs you have opened and give you your fortune.
I think this definitely makes it a little more interesting than how I had it last time. Previously, you just had to click on the little extension icon at the top of your Chrome. But now the fortune happens at a somewhat random moment, so it feels less in the control of the person who is getting their fortune read. So that makes is (slightly) less game-able, which may mean that it’s a more “natural” reading.
There would definitely be a lot more technical and conceptual work to be done for this project to be really good, or to be a Chrome extension that might be good enough for someone to actually want to use. It doesn’t take into consideration people’s different tab habits, and the logic is really simplistic (less tabs = good, more tabs = bad). I haven’t quite figured out if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
Around 6 months ago, I turned on my personal location tracking data in Google Maps on my phone, so I can see where it says I’ve been. You can download the data in a json file that looks like this:
I like the idea that all the places I have been on earth—when and where I went—could be translated into a secret message.
So I decided to see if I could transform my location data into writing. I got a list of English words from here, and then wrote a (janky) script to take the last digit of each value of each location object, and then find the corresponding word in the list.
I also added some logic to add in punctuation based on whether or not the resulting number was divisible by certain numbers.
At first, I played with a bit of randomness, but I realized that for this exercise, it was better to make sure that the script was written in a way such that the results would be the same each time. I think that contributes to the idea that the places I’ve been communicate a specific message. (And if anyone else imputed their own Google location data, they would get one result.) So I took out the randomness.
The results and code are here.
But here are some snippets I like:
retrievals singling shmooze begun cruck awarded anabranch crickets microlith antiprohibition, froghopper aleurone?
arbitrament advisees impulsing unadvised notching cargoes.
veggieburger auriculas waveband apperceptions treasurable areola rhizobium economist hipster appending locusts skirting bequeather d�butantes abruptest karat!
adulterants, aphrodisiacs apologetically discomposure manhattan.
gitterns fictionist balladist!
tittered biotechnology tricorns, mulcting spadefish assassination disbelievers pushier?
infuse teargassing badge!
serval aerifies seasonally, sarcophagus arsonists?
I made a really simple fortune teller, which does what I’m calling “tabomancy.” Basically, it’s a Chrome extension you can click on to get your daily fortune:
The way it determines whether or not you are going to have a good day is by looking at how many tabs you have open in your window. The more tabs you have open, the worse of a day it’s going to be.
This is obviously silly, but I also sort of believe that it might be maybe kind of…real. Having a ton of tabs open usually means that there’s something stressful going on in your life, and you’re trying to balance a lot of things. If you only have one or two tabs open, it just feels more relaxed.
Of course I’m just imposing my own tech superstition/ritual onto this — I think I do a thing where I close all my tabs if I’m feeling too cluttered, and it has a sort of cleansing effect. This is not true for everyone but it might be true enough for enough people that tabomancy might actually work.
I decided to make an oracle deck out of different flavors of Pop Rocks, obscured in generic envelopes:
The deck is shuffled, and then the querent picks an envelope.
The reader then opens the envelope and pours some of the Pop Rocks into the querent’s palm.
The querent then eats the pop rocks, and the reader prompts them to think about how the Pop Rocks taste, how they feel, whether the experience feels good or bad, etc.
I think this is pretty similar to a traditional physical oracle deck, and the envelopes are pretty easy stand-ins for cards. But I wanted to use Pop Rocks because they’re such an evocative candy, and it’s hard not to have a reaction to eating them. (I also think the different colors and flavors contribute to the experience.)
My electronic ritual is standing on a mountain in the videogame, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, for a full 24 hour day in-game. Besides creating a transparent ploy to play videogames for homework, I decided to make this ritual as a way to experience the effects of meditating in nature without having to actually be in nature.
It took 24 minutes to run through 24 hours in the game, starting at 10:00 pm. I had my character, Link, stand on a lush mountain, and I looked around by moving the game camera around, without moving Link around at all.
I watched the moon move through the clouds, and then I watched the sun rise from over the sea. At night, it was cold enough to see Link’s breath. The wind blew grass and other small things around, and the colors and the light changed throughout the day.
It’s the first time I’ve sat so long intentionally in a videogame without moving my character around or otherwise “playing” it as intended, but it did somewhat succeed in creating a feeling of being in nature, moreso than if I were more focused on running around killing monsters or fulfilling a quest. It also got pretty boring after awhile in spite of its beauty, which is in line with what I feel when I sit in one place in nature as well.
There was an interesting effect of feeling like I was actually in two places at once — I listened to the sounds of the crickets and the wind in the game, but also the sound of cars honking outside my real window. When I’m normally playing a videogame, I don’t feel like I’m “in” two places – I just block out whatever else is going on. But just sitting quietly, a little bored, allowed me to hear both things at once.