Monday, January 16, 2012

Ooh, Look at the Pretty Numbers!

I'm a little OCD. Have I mentioned that before? Not to a degree that it interferes with my life, just noticeable in a few areas. Like when I leave my class with a substitute and everything's out of place the next day—and that can be something as little as the books on a not-quite-full shelf being shoved to the right instead of the left. *shudder* Annoying.

As a math teacher, it's only appropriate that one of my little quirks relates to numbers. Some are prettier than others. It's not that I can't function when "ugly" numbers come up. I just feel a little warm fuzzy when they're pretty instead.

So, what are some of my "pretty" numbers? Palindromes are definitely way up there. Those are numbers that read the same forward and backward. When I look at a digital clock right when it's 12:21 or 8:18? Love it. Catching when my odometer hits one? Love that, too.

Numbers that fall in order or in a pattern are nice, too. Speaking of my odometer, it recently passed 123,456 miles. (My car is well-loved.) That was awesome.

Then there's my car stereo. The volume increments are pretty small, but anything much over 40 is usually permanent-damage-to-the-hearing range. Within the "safe" range, I get a little weird with settings that are and are not okay ... and it has little to do with whether it's loud or soft enough. In general, prime numbers = yuck. That means even numbers are mostly good, but something like 38 (a prime times two) isn't as pretty as 35. Multiples of 5 are very pretty, as a rule. Multiples of 3 aren't bad, either, which means 39 is slightly better than 38, but why not go the extra notch to 40, which is prettier than both combined?

I'm nuts. I know this.

Funny thing is, none of this matches what I mean by "pretty" and "ugly" numbers in my classroom. Rational numbers are pretty. Irrational numbers are ugly. Simple as that. If my students get a pretty answer, they know they should either write the exact decimal or the equivalent fraction. If they get an ugly answer, they should either round it appropriately, or leave it in square-root form (or as a multiple of pi, whatever applies).

I imagine that definition makes a lot more sense. But it doesn't mean I'm not very much looking forward to twelve minutes after noon on December 12th of this year.

C'mon, guys, 'fess up. What weird little quirks do you have that make you look just a little bit crazy?


Anonymous said...

When I'm typing, my keyboard has to be positioned just right. Like when you're using a typewriter and it gradually slides to the right? That's where I position my keyboard naturally. It just feels wrong otherwise. In fact a lot of things feel wrong if they're off just by a fraction of an inch. Since moving I have an air mattress for a bed and it drives me crazy when the fiance gets in before me because he ALWAYS slides it over just a bit, and then my equilibrium is all out of whack.

I also can't have anyone standing or sitting beside me when I type. It actually ties into my paranoia, but I feel like they're reading every word and, subsequently, judging me. Because of that, I have a habit (even when I'm alone) of every 2-3 minutes looking to my left or right as I type, like someone would've popped up within the past few seconds.

Yup. We're crazy. :) (Omg, the word verification is 'lable' lol!)

Anonymous said...

Which I've just now realized is spelled wrong and should be 'label' but still, it entertained me. =

R.C. Lewis said...

Good one, Jace. :-D

My desk at school is a ridiculous mess. Yet I can tell if someone's touched my keyboard or anything else on it. *shudder*

Cat Woods said...

I'm a sucker for all things straight. I'll move a picture by a fraction of an inch that nobody else will notice. Or an end table or a book.

Come to think of it, I hate, Hate, HATE magazines and newspapers on a table. It drives me insane. I need them in a basket or on a bookshelf.

Additionally, I cannot get into a bed that is not made properly. Even if I wash the sheets twenty minutes before crawling in to sleep, I have to go through the entire routine of tucking all the blankets in just so and lining up the pillows. Otherwise, it just feels wrong.

That said, I'm a huge closet pig, so go figure.

R.C. Lewis said...

Love it, Cat. You are truly Ziv's soul-sister. ;)

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