I’m a fan of Edward Tufte, a statistician, political scientist, and pioneer in the field of data visualization. And through Dr. Tufte, I know of Charles Joseph Minard and his brilliant statistical graphic showing the losses Napoleon’s army suffered as they hobbled to and from Russian in the War of 1812.

That’s historic, and this is nothing like that, but still . . .

house numbersLast week, I installed house numbers under one of the lights on my front porch. Neighbors, none of whom I know (yet), walked or drove by on their way to town and on their way back, with me still at work. Up the step ladder I went with a carpenter’s pencil from Spenard Builders Supply and a tape rule that retracts so fast it creates a breeze. I’m scared of it.

Down I went for the drill, up again, down for the screw driver, then under the porch to pick up a screw that jumped from my hands and went overboard. Then up again I went. If I were a participant in a study of efficiency, the diagram of my movements would show lines tracing the same paths over and over again to create a dense, congested tangle of repetitive movements.

Several lines would veer out from the central pattern. That’s when I went from porch to driveway to see how the numbers looked from a distance, went to the kitchen for a drink of water, checked e-mail, revised a brochure, made soup, ate soup. But number by number, the pattern would become less dense over time as I got in tune with drill and screw drivers.

Temperature would not be a factor in the graphical display of my house numbers project. Not like it was in Minard’s graphic. But I am, still, taking a small place in the history of this very small town of Homer, AK.

With its three new house numbers, 437 W. Fairview Avenue is the first residence in Homer to have natural gas service. Ya’ll, I am not kidding!
Copyright 2013-2014 Genie Hambrick

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