Civil 3D Land March Madness


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Beware the Ides of March. This particular March that famous quote from Julius Caesar (1599) written by the Bard (Shakespeare) took on a whole new significance for us all. Truly, the middle (ids) of things can be a muddle. FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) is in the aire like pixie dust. People we know well had their entire life effectively blown to bits recently.

Been there. Got my tee shirt. I somehow managed to wear out a few of those Been There tee shirts. I am now reduced to wearing/working through a large collection of old Autodesk University Speaker shirts. (grin)

I Got Chaos is Personal

Speaking of Julius and lots of knives…

The theme song for this post must be Hotel California by the Eagles.
I live in a town that has a real motel named Hotel California. It’s in a part of town you probably do not want to visit. This no tell Motel is closed at the moment.
Speaking of colitas…the pot shop nearby is open – That’s an essential business here in CA.
By the order of His Nuisance.

Trust me this and the theme will make more sense in a bit…

Even Remotely

Folks I know and work with are now working remotely at home. This means I Got more collaborative tools from multiple software and cloud vendors pinging away at my time and attention all day.

No thank you team or time this or that - I really don’t need to know when Dick leaves for lunch in Boise or Jane has left for the day in Miami. People. Please, learn to manage your notifications under Settings. Eheh. Cloud newbies can be so much fun.

Can You See Me Now?

Now I Got more new screen and application sharing apps than my dogs have fleas. This number has probably squared in the first quarter of this year alone. Maybe it’s just me and what I do for a living? Suddenly, every app has new and improved Let’s Work Together tools.

Do You Want a 50” Monitor with That?

I Got mail.
I don’t know about you?
My email daily spam total has reached a whole new crescendo of crap and crud.
I am studiously careful about where I use my email names in vain.

I hate to think what this email blizzard is like for the email impaired.
Ok. I do know someone who just gets a new gmail account whenever the pile gets too huge.
That is an interesting digital online strategy. Hmmm?

All of this March Madness sort of makes sense given the circumstances.

But “Come On, Man.”

Institutional Time Bandits?

Time Bandits is a great, irreverent early ‘80s flick with Sean Connery, John Cleese, Shelley Duvall, and Katherine Helmond. Find it on Google Movies and Amazon Prime.

The point is that sometimes a whole herd of dwarves can pour out of your closet in the middle of the night.

During the March Madness (for reasons unknown but only dimly understood by yours truly) I found myself battling with the digital monster institutions of the age.

Santa Got Run Over By a Reindeer

Santa stole a new cell phone off an UPS truck on Christmas Eve in a blizzard in Southern CA.
I kid you not.

My cell phone company and the shipping giant both then decided in retrospect to charge me for a package that never arrived. Think of hours and hours talking with nice and polite people in call centers valiantly trying to fix things without the ability to change anything in their system.
I’ve never seen or heard anything like this.
Yeah, right. Cell phones never get stolen, lost, or go missing in transit?
Maybe we worked this out…

A major brand name travel booking company and an equally well-known rental car company are battling over services I already paid for via a corporate credit card. Both consider their automated system failures to reconcile their internal accounts to be my fiscal problem and responsibility.
Repeat the entire hours and hours scenario with much ruder people on the other end of the line.
Maybe we worked this out…

OK. I did take me five years to get someone at my cable internet provider to give me a new account.
I could never login to my online account twice with the same password. Annoying but not vital.
Truth be told my account was older than the company itself. My account database record got corrupted when the previous company got sucked up by the new Mother Ship.
I must have explained this to 10 ten people at various higher and higher levels of the company. No one could get authorization to fix it.
This took an official act from a corporate C level officer to finally fix. Kid you not.

Its’s a Trifecta

Maybe I should call this trifecta a tricast like they do in the UK?
We are speaking of casting after all. The Internet of Things (IOT) reached out in March to assault me with a third institutional absurdity. Your gotta love this one…

My local water utility sent me a mail notification earlier in the winter that my humble home appeared to have an intermittent leak according to their state-of-the-art super meter. We can measure eye droppers by the microsecond in a single bound. I considered the intermittent part a bit weird, but perhaps remotely possible. You don’t argue with City Hall.

I grew up in the country on well water. Rust me. You pay attention when you live on a well. Water conservation is built in. My wife will attest. It took her years of reverse behavioral training to get me to remember to flush the yellow. Eewwe.
OK. I can be a good citizen. Back in the day did my time as a journeyman plumber. No worries.

I dutifully fixed and/or replaced any doubtful/dubious valves both inside and outside. Even tuned up the sprinklers for good measure. No pools, puddles, or even damp spots in the yard. My dogs thought this new mud less environment was a lot less fun than before.

Then the March water bill arrives. It says that we used almost 5.6 times as much water that month (or any month in the previous 25 years). This much water would easily fill a pool or two. So much for Smart Meter technology.

I call up the local Water folk and talk with a nice, friendly lady named Pearl. I explain that I think their smart meter is freaking out or my neighbors are hopping our fences with hoses in hand to fill their swimming pools in the middle of the night. Did I mention that my dogs don’t like my neighbors all that much?

Pearl explains that she will send the meter folks an email to notify them of the potential problem.
This has an ominous and familiar aire to it.

“Can you give me the phone number so I can call them, Pearl? I’m happy to talk with them…”

“The meter service people were not deemed essential personnel in the current crisis. There is no one there to answer the call.”

“You mean all the water meter service people are on paid leave on until further notice?”


“What about my bogus bill?”

“You can mail in and file a formal written protest about your bill to the accounting dept of City Water. In any case, City water will not turn off your water during the crisis.”

I get that. No one home at the water department except Pearl. Good to know.

In a world where herds of dwarves from the past may pour out of your closet in the dark of night, you learn the hard way not to take that or institutional behavior personally.

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