The sidewalk that Tetris built

The sidewalk that Tetris built, originally uploaded by atari2600.

I know the general rule of thumb is that geeks don’t like to get their hands dirty. However, occasionally I relish the chance to get out on the weekend and build, fix, or improve things around the ol’ homestead. I took this picture this morning of a brick walkway I am putting in.

While this was a ton of manual labor, I found that even in bricklaying, nerdiness has its place. I spent about 45 minutes in a zombie-like state while my mind processed the stack pattern involved in laying this pathway. I was trying to figure out how to arrange this pattern so that it would not require any side cuts (cutting the bricks with a wet saw). Additionally, the pallet that I bought contained three sizes of bricks all in equal numbers. To ensure that I didn’t end up running out of one of the sizes, I had to design my pattern so that it repeated and that it used the same amount of bricks in the various sizes.

I don’t know if you can tell from this cellphone camera picture, but this pattern spans over six interlocking rows and contains 18 large blocks, 18 medium blocks and 18 small blocks. Here is where the nerdiness comes into play, I don’t think that I would have been able to visually arrange all this without those hours of training in front of the NES (my driving skill also greatly benifited from hours infront of “Out-Run