What I’m Up To…

Off-Line

So there’s a few things I spend time on that aren’t specifically online or social-media related.

Homeowners Association

The most time consuming part is probably working with my homeowners association (HOA)… which of course ends up spilling over to my work with HOA Rules of Order and Fix Your HOA sites. I took an interest in the HOA after going to every HOA meeting after moving into my community back in the fall of 2016. In 2017 I was association secretary, and as of September 2018 I’m the association president.

With the HOA, I’ve implemented significant expansion to our communications approach, including a mailing list, an expanded and updated web site, a Facebook presence, and a Twitter feed. But beyond that, I’ve leveraged my experience in managing medium-large corporate budgets and have helped correct a number of financial issues I discovered while reviewing the association’s finances.

Parliamentary Procedures

Partly due to my involvement with the HOA, and partly due to several years of experience with Robert’s Rules of Order throughout my life, I joined the National Association of Parliamentarians, which includes membership in the Arizona State Association of Parliamentarians (ASAP) and the Arizona Agua Fria Unit (AAFU — the local group equivalent to a chapter).

In November 2018 I was elected Vice President of the AAFU, and as such I’m responsible for arranging to have an educational program at each meeting. In addition, our chapter is now looking at expanding out educational outreach, hoping to provide continuing education classes for professionals who need to learn parliamentary processes, and other individuals interested in learning.

Maricopa County Justice Courts Volunteer

In fall of 2018 I applied to volunteer with the Maricopa County Justice Court system, and have been taking a number of courses relating to small claims courts. It’s been an interesting learning experience, and allows me to “give back” to the community.

WordPress Help

I have a number of friends who come to me with WordPress questions. Most of them are hosting their sites on GoDaddy, and as a GoDaddy Pro, they can give me access to their sites and I can do a variety of things to help their sites run smoothly, including daily backups, performance checks, and uptime monitoring.

This is how I’ve helped with the AAFU web site, my HOA web site, and one of the homeowner assistance web sites.

On-Line

Here’s what’s keeping me busy on the computer and the Internet. A lot of it deals directly with developing online video content.

Central to creating the videos has been my recent deep-dive into the Adobe Creative Cloud products, especially Premiere Pro and After Effects (creating videos), Character Animator (2D animated people and objects), and both Photoshop and Illustrator (dealing more with images, photographs, and line drawings). Many, many years ago I wanted to try my hand at some of it, but the “buy this software” approach of Adobe back then was cost-prohibitive; fortunately, the subscription model of their Creative Cloud suite has made these tools available to just about anyone with a computer.

Old Desert Lizard “Branding”

I’ve had a “personal” presence on the web, but as I’ve just recently passed a “significant chronological milestone” (translation: I’m getting older by the minute!), I’ve decided to take on a suitable moniker of sorts, that being Old Desert Lizard, as you see here.

HOA Rules of Order

It’s been my experience that most HOA boards and members don’t have a clue about Robert’s Rules of Order (just like many of them don’t have the foggiest idea about corporate level finances!). I’m putting together a web site that will have some instructional material — but not the dry, boring, “memorize all these rules”- kind of stuff. Engaging — yes, and entertaining — videos on YouTube, and some pared-down hand-out material that people can actually use in their meetings.

Fix Your HOA

In the process of going to board meetings before being a board member, followed by my activities on the board, I’ve also been involved with a number of organizations — primarily in Arizona — that have focused on helping homeowners who have problems with their HOA… sort of a “Fight Your HOA” stance. What I’ve come to realize is that it’s possible to take another approach: figure out what’s wrong with your HOA, and fix it.

That whole process isn’t an easy one, nor to be entered into lightly or without some guidance. So that’s what Fix Your HOA sets out to do.

There are follow-on opportunities for other related sites, such as:

  • Ask Your HOA — If you are new HOAs and just bought a home in an association, you will want some easy-to-understand guidance on how to deal with your HOA.
  • Compare Your HOA — In my discussion with many other HOA members (including board members), it’s clear there’s no real way to get an answer to the question: How does my HOA compare to other HOAs of a similar size and composition? It doesn’t take too much data — most of it readily available to the HOA members in the form of HOA financial data — and if that data were aggregated and categorized, then I could see “how does my HOA compare to other HOAs with about 350 homes and no amenities beyond a couple of small playgrounds?”
  • Understand Your HOA — This would be a very basic guide to the HOA-newbie.

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