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2009-01-01

Golden Geek: The Compulsion to Edit

I was telling Vicki that I had received a couple of complementary tweets about my Growing Up Geek post.

When I mentioned that I really wanted to go back and edit that post, the neighbors could have heard her laughter.  She roared.

I do want to fix it, yet I promised her I would simply cop to it but not do anything (just now, I said to myself).

I am a rewriter and polisher.  Sometimes that is valuable.  Sometimes it is one of the ways that I am my own worst enemy in terms of accomplishment.  I mostly don’t give myself a choice in the matter.

I have also learned that what others consider good enough I often see as careless.  My perfectionism does have an end to it, when things are good enough and I sense that it is completed work.  It does end.   And often, after having expressed something, I will see ways that it needs to be refined.  I am not abashed about carrying that out in public, although I am now better at avoiding situations where I would upload some code followed by three revisions in the course of several minutes.  I allow time for the after-thoughts, and I may save them up or record them somewhere.

Like here.


Here is what I see that I would repair, were I taking the time to edit the initial copy that I spewed out:

  1. Second sentence: “It is not clear … .”  Break into two and make it clear about comments.  Third sentence: Reword “I took it …” without “it”
      
  2. Second paragraph: Too many “also”-isms.
     
  3. Third paragraph: Be more specific about what objects I am talking about.
      
  4. Fourth paragraph: Ditto on (3), break up the run-on-ness, find my favorite photo of Jerry Hanson.
     
  5. Seventh graph: Clarify what sprung.
     
  6. Eighth graph: not enough about available light and how that fit in here -- “barely passable” too terse.  Add basement light leaks as another source of fogging.
      
  7. Ninth graph: The description of the base and how the enlarger housing was connected is a bit difficult.  Nowadays I would have photographs of that.  Ah well.  Maybe a sketch from my tablet PC?
     
  8. Twelfth graph: Explain that the incentive around taking the Heathkit home electronic courses first was that I was worried about having to pay for service and chose to build my own microcomputers to be able to manage that.  Later, I have an example of where I went off the rails around the 70 lb. combo hard drive and 8” floppy unit that I couldn’t repair.
      
  9. Fifteenth graph: There’s a story about being stunned to receive commemorative postage from an iron-curtain country (East Germany) along with chess moves, and how that taught me to look at the propaganda content of our own postage stamps.
     
  10. Eighteenth graph: Add that the model-railroading was HO gauge.
      
  11. 21st graph: “Math and science nerd” I think the word was “brain” when I was in high school, just like it was Bohemians and beatniks before hippies.
      
  12. 22nd graph: “have me in Rochester” part is clumsy to the end of that sentence.  Rephrase.
        
  13. 23rd graph: It is a class of ‘61 drinking mug, the one those of us entering in ‘59 would be interested in.
      
  14. Last graph: Another part of the angst around college was about money and how I did not manage what my folks had saved up for me well at all.

Doing it this way, I have found more than I first noticed after posting.  I was already itching to repair that post, but this list is a better way of seeing what’s needed rather than a progression of code-and-fix updates.  Interesting ...

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Comments:
 
So why not go back and fix it? It's your blog--do what makes you happy. It's not as though you criticized someone and now you're going back to soften it or remove it altogether. This seems like a post you point to a lot in the future so it makes sense to make it something you'll be happy with.
 
 
Thanks Tommy, I may eventually do that.

The point of this had to do with the way "perfectionalism" showed up in my life and that Vicki had me promise not to go back and polish it.

Oddly, now that I have placed the "open loop" about the edits for Growing Up Geek here on this blog post, I am happy to leave it here for now. I got it off my mind and I can come back and do it later whenever I like.

I didn't realized I'd accomplished that until I received your comment.
 
 
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