13 May 2007

What it feels like to work in software development sometimes…

Filed under: Work

16 April 2007

HOAs

Filed under: Ponderings,Work

We had an interesting discussion at work yesterday about Homeowners Associations.

It started with a “I don’t want to start a huge discussion about this, but…how do you feel about HOAs?” comment and turned into a huge discussion.

We were split into two camps. Myself and another of the writers were in the “No HOA” camp, albeit for I believe slightly different reasons

<side note> She and I agree frequently on broad-scale subjects, but our underlying reasons for doing so are oftentimes wildly different. She is, as she puts it, a card carrying liberal. I am, as I put it, nothing, but those who know my views say I lean towards Libertarianism (small government whose job it is to maintain foreign relations and interstate highways and lots of personal freedom as long as it doesn’t infringe on the freedoms of others). </side note>

My views on HOAs, and this is what I said when I was asked about it; is that they are shadow, non-chartered municipal governments that seek to undermine the overall freedoms of their residents under the guise of “keeping the lawns clean”, etc. and end up creating mini-nations within cites and counties. They frequently create laws that are illegal outside their own borders (for instance, not being able to park your car on a city street) and levy fines against residents which they then pocket for themselves. They operate under the appearance that they are a republic or a democracy, but are in reality an oligarchy that rules with no input from their “citizens” and follows any path that they personally see fit (sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it?).

Two of the other writers, who live in HOA communities, were for the HOA mentality. They said that they like the fact that they get to live in clean communities and have rules governing what people can do with their houses.

I put forth that these communities are exclusive and discriminatory, and they didn’t seem to have much of a problem with that.

My concern with these whole things is the sliding slope we’re on. For instance:

70 years ago it would have been completely legal for me to build a community and hang a “whites only” sign on the gate.

50 or so years ago, that was deemed illegal (as it should be).

30 years ago women gained the right to join paternal organizations such as Rotary and Elks.

Now, communities are popping up all over the country with big, although pretty, gates, governed by HOAs that not only tell you where you can park your car, but which bushes you can plant in your yard and what color your house has to be (which, by no coincidence, seems to be more often white, than not).

Do you see where I’m going here? Aren’t we going backwards instead of forwards?

If I were to move to Idaho and buy a piece of property and hang a sign out front that said “whites only”, I’d have the FBI on my doorstep in a New York minute. However, if I were to have a gated community, which by intimidation and coercion, exclude minorities from living there, the residents and society at large wouldn’t have a lick of problem with it.

I know, I’m stretching this, but how far really? How long until that happens? Not long, it would appear at our current rate.

Hence, I prefer to live in an average neighborhood, on an average street, where my neighbors are more than allowed to have a car parked in their front yard if they want (it is their property, after all) and I am more than allowed to leave if I don’t like it.

That’s how this country should be, IMHO.

29 January 2007

Thoughts on conference calls…

Filed under: Work

I have a theory that people do conference calls on speaker phone (on full blast with their office door open) not for the convenience of it, but rather because it’s an ego thing, as if to say, “I’m so important that not only am I on a conference call and you’re not, I’m too busy to hold the freekin’ phone to my head for it and will subject any poor hapless soul within earshot to the dribble that is my professional life.

Please, close the door!

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