0245: "Floor Tiles"

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Demented
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Postby Demented » Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:35 am UTC

wow. It's really good to know I'm not the only one that does this...

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Coruscate
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Re: "Floor Tiles" Discussion

Postby Coruscate » Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:46 am UTC

vmanivan wrote:Even worse are those oddly spaced steps on staircases that make you always step up with the same foot first.


This is really the only thing that annoys me when I'm walking about, I don't know why :(

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JuliaGlass
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Postby JuliaGlass » Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:51 am UTC

Heh, this made my day. Not only the comic, but the fact that there is an entire discussion about this. (Sadly, the feeling will not last. In a few hours I'm getting my third molars pulled.)

I was drinking a Jones Soda yesterday, and the message in the cap said "step on the cracks." I proceeded to say to the cap, "No, you know I can't do that. Stop taunting me."

I have never used math/science for an excuse for the floor-tile behavior before. It just doesn't cut it for the other things I find myself doing.

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dmd
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Postby dmd » Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:14 pm UTC

This thread has made me incredibly happy this morning.

Riding the train into Philadelphia each morning, I weave the scratches on the window into the power lines.

More usefully - when I'm driving and under heavy brain-cpu-load (e.g., dark + rain + tired) I move the little splinter-crack in my windshield into various positions depending on how many neighboring cars I'm currently tracking, so I don't forget any.

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Isaac Hill
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Postby Isaac Hill » Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:25 pm UTC

I'll often start paying attention to the cracks/tiles/etc and walk accordingly. Sometimes, once I've figured out a pattern that prevents me from walking on a crack or whatever, I then ignore the pattern, since that sidewalk is now solved. Other times, I'll continue walking in the pattern if it forces me to take longer strides, which means I get where I'm going faster.

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Postby D. Wolfwood » Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:37 pm UTC

I remember doing stuff like that CONSTANTLY as a child. Ive gotten lax on it, but even still, brings back memories.
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Postby Schmorgluck » Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:59 pm UTC

There was a time when I used to step in tiles or zones between cracks by powers of two. It was so inconvenient that I switched to prime numbers.
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Akira
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Postby Akira » Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:02 pm UTC

I second what almost everyone else has said:

It's nice to know I'm not the only insance OCD out there.

I'm not even diagnosed OCD. O_o;

>_> I design my MP3 playslist around what I can pace out. Songs that I can walk exactly, or can't coule or don't have a god patern I can walk.. go on mix CDs to lsitne to when I'm sitting.
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Postby Rigu-chan » Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:26 pm UTC

The alt-text (is that what you call the text in the orange box?) is me. I do that at school, but I have to step on the tiles that have lines facing the way that I'm going.
....
I am so OCD. =P
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Postby Wanger » Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:31 pm UTC

saxmaniac1987 wrote:I end up doing weird things like pacing out triplets


I do that exact same thing. Also, I do it in clubs so it's not obvious that I'm walking to the beat, which I otherwise can't help =)

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Skyl3lazer
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Postby Skyl3lazer » Fri Apr 06, 2007 2:21 pm UTC

God, both the comic and alt text are 100% true, to the letter. I actually shorten my stride to sync the sidewalk cracks and white tile spacing. Although I sometimes allow myself an addition white tile if it's in a particularly weird pattern.

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Guybrush Threepwood
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Postby Guybrush Threepwood » Fri Apr 06, 2007 2:24 pm UTC

II wrote:I hate to say it guys; I think we're all a little OCD.
After reading this topic, I'd have to agree with you.
Myself included.

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Postby skiboyjake » Fri Apr 06, 2007 2:34 pm UTC

when i cross the street using a crosswalk, i try my hardest to walk only on the white lines. that is, the lines that form the crosswalk.

when i used to ride the bus as a kid, i liked to take an object on the window frame and make it interact with the surroundings. i'd make it do jumps of snowbanks, and hop over the shadows on the road. shadows on the road are frustrating...

i just realized that when i'm on the phone, given a large enough area i have to walk in circles. if at all possible, i have to walk in circles without touching the floor... thats a bit harder. if i'm walking on a thick carpet, i have to have a visable circle of where i've been. i can't stand when part of the circle isn't as obvious as another part... i'll often drag one of my feet to make sure i get a good circle.

i think everyone in this forum needs professional help.

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cmacis
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Postby cmacis » Fri Apr 06, 2007 2:39 pm UTC

Well, that's why universities have maths departments: it's cheaper than sectioning us.
li te'o te'a vei pai pi'i ka'o ve'o su'i pa du li no
Mathematician is a function mapping tea onto theorems. Sadly this function is irreversible.
QED is Latin for small empty box.
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Akira
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Postby Akira » Fri Apr 06, 2007 2:39 pm UTC

problem is that most therapists, when present with these problems, roll thier eyes, snort, and say "youre jsut a freak, get out."

...or si that just me? XD
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entropomorphic
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Postby entropomorphic » Fri Apr 06, 2007 2:41 pm UTC

I've done all this kind of stuff too... but I've mostly kicked the habit as I've grown up. Mostly. I guess we're all a little xkOcd.

When the windshield wipers are on in the car (and I'm riding), I sometimes trace the tip of the wiper as the car is moving in a kind of a skewed sine wave. Then I move my head back and forth so that the wave would either go over or under any road signs. Kind of like a poor man's version of that Helicopter Tunnel game.

And whenever I would do something mindless and repetitive with two steps (like tapping my left and right foot, or drumming two fingers on a table), I would alternate the steps so that it was "fair" for each step. Each step had to be first and second an equal number of times... like
0110

But that isn't fair for 1 since 0 is always at the extreme first or last, so I would extend it...
0110 1001 1001 0110

(0110 1001 1001 0110) (1001 0110 0110 1001) (1001 0110 0110 1001) (0110 1001 1001 0110)


And so on.

Gawd that took a lot of stackspace to remember where I was in the pattern...

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entropomorphic
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Postby entropomorphic » Fri Apr 06, 2007 2:48 pm UTC

I suppose it's no surprise that people with mathematically oriented brains do this kind of stuff more than other people... It's all about seeing patterns everywhere and forming order out of entropy. I wouldn't be surprised if musicians (and especially drummers) did similar things.

Just don't get too caught up in it!

Shadow
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Postby Shadow » Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:11 pm UTC

saxmaniac1987 wrote:alt-text pretty much describes my life, which is a fairly common occurrence with these comics. I also have a tendency to adjust my stride to the music i am listening to if i have headphones on....which can be a problem when the song is too fast to pace out every beat but too slow to walk every other. I end up doing weird things like pacing out triplets taking uneven steps. I probably look pretty stupid doing it, too, but what do i care. I'm a music major.


Us music majors have a hard life when it comes to walking with headphones on.


Since I was a little kid I did the whole avoid the cracks in the sidewalk thing. I must have looked odd as a child. Heck, I KNOW i looked odd as a child.

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_bud_
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Postby _bud_ » Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:13 pm UTC

Its comforting to know I'm not the only one who does that. I've even explained it to my friends; who either shrug it off (not really understanding) or continue to this day to try to persuade me to stop.

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Postby scape » Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:24 pm UTC

(0110 1001 1001 0110) (1001 0110 0110 1001) (1001 0110 0110 1001) (0110 1001 1001 0110)


I would have bet money that i was the only person who did that. I also try to do the next layer but i don't know if i ever had a long enough straight to finish it...

Incidentally, my justification for this (I won't admit it's purposeless OCD) is that in people with overactive frontal lobes, the weaker intuitive / feeling part of your brain needs some way to keep the number crunching analytic portion busy so it can actually think. It's like a meditation; like how I often get to the bottom of things while playing tetris. It's just something to keep that part of your brain busy so the intuitive side doesn't get distracted by its geeky square-glasses wearing brain neighbour.

Derjaak
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Postby Derjaak » Fri Apr 06, 2007 4:07 pm UTC

You people are crazy.

Everybody knows that the black tiles are the ones that are burning lava. You usually can't trust the adjacent white ones, either.

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cmacis
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Postby cmacis » Fri Apr 06, 2007 4:09 pm UTC

Noo, stand on the cracks and you'll turn to liquid and fall through regardless.
li te'o te'a vei pai pi'i ka'o ve'o su'i pa du li no

Mathematician is a function mapping tea onto theorems. Sadly this function is irreversible.

QED is Latin for small empty box.

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Greichen
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tile games

Postby Greichen » Fri Apr 06, 2007 4:11 pm UTC

I remember that 'ol game. some times it got (and still does occasionally) real bad. for some complex floor tiling system, where you'd have say colour 1 as the center and then a 2nd and even 3rd colour coming out from it, usually in that flower pattern effect, and then a 4th 'filler' colour for the rest of the floor, I would assign a point system as I did above for their 'numbers' and keep a mental running tally of LEFT foot and RIGHT foot when they would hit the tile, or adding multiple tile numbers if I allowed the foot to be on multiple tiles, trying to constantly keep the 'score' between both feet even.
I usually have to give myself a mental slap at one point and shake myself out of it by making a "goal" number to achieve. convincing myself the game has either been won or lost at a certain point, and I will play it again another time. tha's when it starts to get weird. for the most part this game would only been seen as an slight shift in footing here and there, maybe a slightly longer stride. but if the 'score' if one foot has gotten too far ahead, the hopping and weird angles will ensue.
Did I mention I love this comic?

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Postby Kinami » Fri Apr 06, 2007 4:16 pm UTC

This comic/thread made me happy too!

I've done just about everything on here...the worst was fences, from the car. I'd have to lift up my heels while driving past a fence or fence post (along with hedges, trees, and any other reasonably solid object within about 20 feet of the road). I'd try to do each side of the road with the corresponding foot. It felt weird to supress the habit when I was first learning to drive. I still do it when I'm a passenger.

scape wrote:Incidentally, my justification for this (I won't admit it's purposeless OCD) is that in people with overactive frontal lobes, the weaker intuitive / feeling part of your brain needs some way to keep the number crunching analytic portion busy so it can actually think. It's like a meditation; like how I often get to the bottom of things while playing tetris. It's just something to keep that part of your brain busy so the intuitive side doesn't get distracted by its geeky square-glasses wearing brain neighbour.

That's the best explanation for this that I've heard.
I wonder if it's related to getting a song stuck in your head...I almost always have a song playing, or numbers being counted, or some sort of pattern game (like only stepping on certain tiles) going on in the back of my brain.

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Postby InfernoSD » Fri Apr 06, 2007 4:27 pm UTC

Ah. This thread was finally enough to make me go through with registration.

I've done quite a few things on here. I've never done a "spot on the windshield" thing before... But I do walk irregularly often and I do take notice of every telephone pole or sign or car or whatever I pass.

But I just remembered one of the stupid bits I do whenever I'm on a forum or message board. While I'm scrolling down, I always try to keep my cursor positioned within the messages, and never on the borders. I always have to scroll very carefully to be sure I don't miss.

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Postby FFF8E7 » Fri Apr 06, 2007 4:35 pm UTC

saxmaniac1987 wrote:alt-text pretty much describes my life, which is a fairly common occurrence with these comics. I also have a tendency to adjust my stride to the music i am listening to if i have headphones on....which can be a problem when the song is too fast to pace out every beat but too slow to walk every other. I end up doing weird things like pacing out triplets taking uneven steps. I probably look pretty stupid doing it, too, but what do i care. I'm a music major.


I guess I do that sometimes if I'm wearing headphones, but if there's music playing that everyone can hear, I actually do the opposite, deliberately walking out of time with the music, just so that I don't look like the sort of person who always has to walk in time to the music. It's pretty hard sometimes.

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Locus Cosecant
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Postby Locus Cosecant » Fri Apr 06, 2007 4:55 pm UTC

Joshua wrote:umm...
Didn't he already do this one?
http://xkcd.com/c207.html

or am I missing something


The point of the comic isn't that he has nonsense rules for walking. The point is that he's desperately alone, even when he's with people - he can't express his inner self for fear of shunning.

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Postby d3adf001 » Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:01 pm UTC

HOT LAVA!

/me watches chaos ensue

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JuliaGlass
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Postby JuliaGlass » Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:13 pm UTC

d3adf001 wrote:HOT LAVA!

/me watches chaos ensue


I have this messenger bag that says "the floor is made of lava" on it (from Toothpaste for Dinner), and it is amazing how many people ask me to explain what it means to them. Some people really missed out.

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Postby Akula » Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:29 pm UTC

Here's another one:

When I'm driving and the sun is low in the sky, casting lots of shadows out across the road, I pretend to be jumping from shadow to shadow.

Another one is that I pretend to be on a calvary horse, and I cut down road signs, cars, pedestrians with my imaginary saber.

Doing this while simultaneously doing the spot on the windshield thing, pretending to get missile lock on other cars is not recommended.

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Postby warriorness » Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:37 pm UTC

Rocco wrote:There's something awesome hidden in this comic.

Not only is it funny that he comes up with elaborate, silly rules about walking on black tiles, but it's even funnier that he probably gets a kick out of fucking with his friend's head by introducing cognitive dissonance.

This comic wins.


I never noticed the subtle joke there. Thanks for pointing it out!

Akula wrote:
Shpadoinkle wrote:I've done most of the things people have mentioned so far ("moving" a spot of crap on the windshield around by moving my head, standing with my feet in a certain way on tile floors, only walking on certain tiles, etc.).

I've also been in situations where people have noticed me doing something like that and asked me about it, and I briefly consider explaining it, before deciding it'd either take too long or I'd make myself look insane, so I just deny it. It's nice to know I'm not alone on this.


When I do the spot on the windshield thing, I pretend to get missile lock on the cars in front of me.


That's much more hilarious than it should be. I'm glad I don't do any of that crap while driving, though; I'd go crazy.
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Postby furplepig » Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:52 pm UTC

SO glad that there are so many other people out there doing things like this. Maybe I should start watching people's gait more closely to find my brethren.

When I'm walking down a hallway, I can't step directly in front of a doorway with the foot that's on the same side as the door. So if the door's on the left I have to use the right foot. If two doors are right across from each other I jump.

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Postby d3adf001 » Fri Apr 06, 2007 6:03 pm UTC

Akula wrote:Here's another one:

When I'm driving and the sun is low in the sky, casting lots of shadows out across the road, I pretend to be jumping from shadow to shadow.

Another one is that I pretend to be on a calvary horse, and I cut down road signs, cars, pedestrians with my imaginary saber.

Doing this while simultaneously doing the spot on the windshield thing, pretending to get missile lock on other cars is not recommended.


please stay out of maryland and central PA

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Postby RealGrouchy » Fri Apr 06, 2007 6:31 pm UTC

LALALALALALAI'MNOTLISTENINGLALALALA!!!!!

(I haven't done this for years, and I *don't* want to start back doing it again!)

- RG>
Jack Saladin wrote:etc., lock'd
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:At least he has the decency to REMOVE THE GAP BETWEEN HIS QUOTES....
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Postby bbotany » Fri Apr 06, 2007 6:54 pm UTC

Straight lines don't have to be normal, you know... all the tiles are "between" black tiles! Doesn't anyone else have axis that are skew? Or hexagonal tiles? Had four colors and hexagonal tiles at my high school.

And cracks are almost easy. Every sidewalk has a time signature for a particular stride, except for those odd flagstone ones. They're like playing one of Bartók's pieces where he changed time signatures every two bars... but the 2+2+3/7 or 2+3/5 signatures are pretty common at conversational tempo on concrete, or 1+2/3 at cruising tempo. Ta-Ta-ta, Ta-Ta-ta... just don't do it after using morse, or you'll think the sidewalk is stuttering at you.
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Re: "Floor Tiles" Discussion

Postby aroon » Fri Apr 06, 2007 6:59 pm UTC

vmanivan wrote:The interior designers never thought of how seriously this would affect the mathematical/scientific-minded. Even worse are those oddly spaced steps on staircases that make you always step up with the same foot first.


YES. jeez, one of the more popular computer science lecture halls at CMU (WeH7500 for you Tartans) has two tiny steps separated by a GIANT step in succession for at least 200ft. i feel like a moron walking down that thing. you have to run otherwise you just look stupid.

btw, im glad this comic was made. its why i love xkcd. and its nice to know im not alone. ive been doing this stuff since pre-school, haha.

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Postby aroon » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:05 pm UTC

Locus Cosecant wrote:
Joshua wrote:umm...
Didn't he already do this one?
http://xkcd.com/c207.html

or am I missing something


The point of the comic isn't that he has nonsense rules for walking. The point is that he's desperately alone, even when he's with people - he can't express his inner self for fear of shunning.


clearly, he works in an office with such tiles! recurring theme! use the test to take the test!

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Postby EvanED » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:14 pm UTC

Okay, thank you all. I feel a little less insane for doing the car toe thing now.

Actually now that I think about it, I don't feel less insane, but I at least know that there are others who are equally bonkers as I. ;-)

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Postby space_raptor » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:24 pm UTC

Every time I step on a sidewalk crack, I die a little inside.

I hate when somebody calls me on the floor tile thing, I feel like an idiot. Or like I'm mentally ill. OCD OCD OCD
The drinking will continue until morale improves.

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Postby xkcd » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:24 pm UTC

Haha, so I'm really happy with how this comic turned out, but I confess: I forgot that I had previously talked about this particular tile pattern in the last panel of comic #207.

I knew I had sketched it out before. But I thought it was sitting in my "stuff to finish" bin, since I never decided how to make it a comic on its own. That is, I would have remembered if it the center of a full comic, but I forgot I mentioned it in a panel. I was at the local grocery store sometime recently and started thinking about it all over (and the problem of explaining it to people, which is what convinced me to make the actual comic).

But I'm happy with the result, so I'm not kicking myself too much. And obsession with walking in the proper pattern was definitely worth further exploration. The alt-text to the comic, which I added as an afterthought, has already gotten me a whole flood of email.

I think most people notice little things like this at some point and wonder if they're a little OCD. But I think it's just the natural consequence of being the sort of person who notices patterns (i.e., human). You can't help interacting with the pattern -- making up games for yourself -- and then you feel weird when you break them. My guess is there's a significant gulf between that sort of thing and an uncontrollable disorder. But maybe they spring from the same place -- I really don't know.
Last edited by xkcd on Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:31 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.


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