Bob Ross Reads Your Fortune

For my final, I am tweaking the tarot card idea I had in a previous assignment. I found that using a movie as the source material for a deck was not always effective. They were also too long and certain scenes out of context left very little to interpret for the reader. Then one night as I was browsing Netflix, I saw a recommended series for me: Bob Ross's The Joy of Painting.

I've known about this series for a long time, but only as a sort of internet meme. I've never actually watched an episode of it before. So I watched an episode, and it was hypnotizing. I knew that I found the solution to my problem and the solution was Bob Ross.

How it works

The "deck" is an episode of "The Joy of Painting". I "shuffle and deal" the deck by choosing five random numbers as timestamps, and each of these numbers are assigned to one position of the spread. In this instance, I am using a Five Card Spread. When a card is selected, a clip of the video at that particular timestamp will play for a small amount of time, and loop until another card is selected.


As for the interpretation of these cards, there were several factors to consider:

  • Bob Ross is constantly talking in his videos. And everything he says can be seen as a metaphor for life, which helps the interpretation of the reading. 
  • The beauty of a Bob Ross video is that you can always determine the current state of the painting. This kind of grounds the video into a very clear and discrete sense of linearity.
  • And there is of course a lot of color in the video. So color is one more factor that can be used for interpretation.

Bob Ross is also incredibly positive, which is what I needed now as the semester is closing and the finals are coming .

code here

app here

Note that any video can be used as the source as long as it's in the same folder as all the other files and it's named bobross.mp4


reddit fortunetelling

As I browse reddit, I would often automatically assume the subreddit that each post belongs to. I am usually correct with my guess. Inspired by the Zener cards,  I wrote a simple chrome extension that removes the subreddit from the post on reddit posts. I feel that this removes some sort of subconscious bias I might have before clicking on these posts. It also creates a surprise factor for whenever I click on a post, causing a combination of fear and excitement.

var subs = document.getElementsByClassName('class="subreddit hover may-blank"');
//subs on list page

for(var i = subs.length - 1; i >= 0; i--)

I think because I am so accustomed to the subreddits that I am subscribed to, it isn't too difficult for me to accurately guess the correct parent subreddits. However, I think that if I were to do the same experiment with someone else's account, it may lead to more surprising results. I also think that a similar project could be down with the top comment for each reddit post. reddit has a very hivemindy thought process, so it is often easy to predict the top comment of a post. 


I started to analyze my Google Hangouts history in some of my previous classes. I thought that analyzing conversation history could be a pseudo-natural event that could be turned into a fortune. Although we are always in control of what we type, I believe that when we instant message with those we are closest to, our fingers move without thought. 

By analyzing the frequency of messages between myself and two of my ex-girlfriends, I was able to create these songs that represent the unbalance in our relationships.

For every week of texts, I counted the number of characters that I sent and the number of characters that she sent. If I sent more characters, than that week would be represented by a single random guitar note. If she sent more characters, that week would be represented by a single random piano note.

pseudo-code tl;dr:

every note = 1 week of texts

me = 🎸, her = 🎹

if me > her, play 🎸, else play 🎹.

Here is the song that is generated with the messages between me and my most recent ex-girlfriend, GC.

Here is the song generated with my ex before GC.

If you couldn’t tell, the breakup between JJ and I affected me a lot more than that of GC. Both of these songs kind of predict why these relationships ended due to the unbalanced nature of the conversations had.

I decided to sonify the data because I think being able to listen to a whole relationship condensed into a single elegy was more melancholic and romantic.

The majority of the code written lied within parsing the CSV document containing all of the message between myself and the girlfriend. This can be seen here:

a filmic Oracle Deck

What's your favorite movie? Or a movie you've seen recently.

Movies generally follow a three act structure. In the first Act, there is an INCITING INCIDENT. Along with a PROTAGONIST and an ANTAGONIST

This leads to act two, the CONFRONTATION.

Finally in act three, the CLIMAX and the RESOLUTION.

I wanted to turn any movie into an oracle deck. Instead of physical cards, the deck would include short scenes from a movie. The positioning of these cards would indicate the five main themes of a narrative:

1. INCITING INCIDENT - the current situation 

2. PROTAGONIST - describes your current state

3. ANTAGONIST - describes your troubles

4. CONFRONTATION - what will happen when you face your troubles

5. CLIMAX - what will happen at the highest or lowest point

6. RESOLUTION - your future

I decided to use video and film as a format for an oracle deck because it followed the general rules of cleromancy. A film has a discrete number of frames, which can be combined into a discrete number of scenes. I enjoy how the meaning behind each scene can be interpreted differently. Someone having prior knowledge of the film versus someone without would have a different reaction to the card that they view.

A Seamless Ritual

I order Seamless quite often. Especially when I have all of these $10 off $15 coupons. Although these coupons say they are for specific restaurants, they're actually usable for anywhere. A sandwich shop near my apartment gives stacks of these coupons freely.

However, these coupons only work on "new" accounts. The creation of these accounts is a special ritual for me. The process of getting a great discount and delicious food excites me like no other. The fact that I have to hit a $15 dollar minimum is great. It lets me order things I normally would not, sometimes getting a little fancy. 

One negative is that this is not healthy for me. I used to be unable to finish $15 of Seamless delivery, but lately I've been completely finishing each meal. I also realize that this is not a good thing I'm doing. I am cheating a flaw in Seamless's system. So to feel better about myself, I always give a generous tip to the delivery person. But not too generous since I still want to save money. I'm a bastard.