12/22/20 – Upside Right

Spacetrawler, audio version For the blind or visually impaired, December 22, 2020.




Ha! I feel this sometimes when I get behind on work. 🙂


  1. Rikard

    Ahhh! Grading papers, correcting tests, and checking up on the students homework and assignements.

    Is not what Stangor is doing, because that’s not nearly enough paperwork.

    It’s good to be retired, instead of just normal tired.

  2. Autoskip

    You know what the really fun part is?

    With upside-down gravity now feeling normal, upside-right gravity is going to feel weird when you leave, and it will probably take a similar amount of time for you to get used to it again.

  3. Pitgamer

    Given the requirements to join the thieves’ guild, I wonder what percentage of members are former tax examiners or tax accountants? Probably pretty high compared to the general population, I’m guessing.

  4. Pete Rogan

    In a prior life I had to go through mounds of paperwork — not to complete, but to find out how better to collect the information. You wouldn’t believe the traps, dead-ends, vortices and simple drains could be put into as few as three pages.

    A document that required a prior form to be completed before you could continue. Which itself needed two other forms to be completed, reconciled, and the answers put into the correct places on the other form. Mandatory data that had to come from one particular computer report that only came out once a month and nobody can remember what the data in it means, or where it goes after the cart drops it off at the office door the first Monday of the month.

    My favorites were the forms asking for data that had no defined source at all. You basically had to find somebody’s prior completed form and copy the data over. Nobody checked it after that, and until I got to it, nobody had asked what the devil this was for.

    I would be grateful to be the cause of so many bonfires of dead forms, but unfortunately in the process I learned that paperwork literally grows like weeds, and in the process of avoiding direct responsibility even more forms requiring ever-more unneeded data would constantly be created to diffuse any possible difficulty through so many stacks of paper, until the answer was less important than escaping the stack to live again.

    Now and again I contemplate how to solve the base problem and eliminate paperwork to the bare minimum, but that gets into questions of authority and responsibility and the inequity between the two of them, even if in the same person. Stangor’s piles, next to that problem, are piffle by comparison. I’ve seen worse. I’ve SWUM through worse. I’ve had worse in OVERHEAD BINS that threatened to come down on my head. Stangor, you amateur. You don’t know from paperwork.

  5. Muzhik

    Reminds me of an anecdote I read decades ago. In Britain, every year the vicars were required to fill out forms describing the size of the church, number of doors, etc. This one vicar decided to see what would happen if some of the data changed from year to year. So he started making his church smaller, on paper. After a few years, it would have been so small that two people would have had a hard time fitting in.

    So the next year, he started making the church bigger, on paper. Every year he added a few more square feet into the line on the form, until his church was larger than Liverpool cathedral!

    Not one person ever contacted him to find out what was going on. It’s like no one ever looked at that data that was essential for the government to collect.

  6. Pete Rogan

    Paperwork defines organizational authority and reach. It exists to remind people that SOMEbody, somewhere, is Keeping An Eye Out on what You Are Likely Planning, and to Cut It Out. It’s a great timesaver from just going and seeing what people are doing. As long as people are too busy to do that, they’ll demand forms be filled out and brought back to the office. Never mind checking them for accuracy. Checking for completeness is the limit of their competency.

    There’s no reason advanced aliens won’t resort to paperwork to provide the illusion that they know what’s going on. That illusion is more difficult to pierce than you imagine, especially if you have experienced overlords who KNOW that at any particular time, some schmuck is finding out the paperwork means diddly-squat and they can fake it to make it. All it takes is one overlord showing up where the empire-building has been going on to bring the whole thing down and frighten another generation into Doing The Paperwork – Or Else.

    So yes — Paperwork is forever. They are the manacles we willingly put on because the alternative is somebody breathing down your neck or using corporate funds to build their Malibu resort. It would take a more responsible species than any we see or can imagine to do away with it. Sorry. Deal.

    1. David N

      I have two sets of experiences that give a positive view of paperwork (assuming you weren’t just being subtly sarcastic):

      First, as part of a small car business family, paperwork was the life-blood of the company. When someone called to complain about the tires, we had receipts. When we needed the total expenses, we had all of the invoices. And compiling the important info on the internal form stapled to the front of the folder sometimes made the difference between a car just getting lost and getting sold.

      Second, as a data analyst, my livelihood literally cannot exist without data, and I to get data I need filled-in forms. Once I have the data, I can slice it all sorts of ways, but blank forms are useless and incorrectly filled forms are worse, in that they break the rules I rely on. For example, if someone’s national ID number keeps changing, then I can’t use it as a unifying key across my data.

      Now, paperwork in space using actual paper seems archaic, unless digital records can be hacked or lost. (The second one happened on a regular basis as the electronic systems at the family office changed. The paper, however, never just “failed.”)

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