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Dear More-businessy-than-me friends: If you were going to call someone's professional references, what would you want to ask them? Specifically, I'm calling references for a web developer (not design aspects, just the building aspects). I've only been able to find not-so-helpful articles online, and I know there must be collective wisdom out there.
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I've been thinking about this for some time, and need your help! My idea, not an original one, is to have something that is more clear and fair than a sliding scale, but less rigid, and with a bit more empathy and reality for income disparity. I can't find the place where I got the idea from, which is to have roughly 3 markers for which category you should think of yourself in. I really need feedback! What do you think of this idea? Is it cumbersome? Radical? Cool? Which markers are clearest to you? Which markers do you think I should use? Is it clear to you which category you would be in?

TIER ONE: $90:
I am full-time employed.
I own a recent-make car.
I take vacations.
I see a dentist twice a year for check-ups.
I invest enough for retirement.
I buy nice things for myself.
I own my home.
If there is something I want, I am comfortable buying it for myself.

TIER TWO: $80:
I work for a non-profit or in the service industry.
I work in an underpaid helping profession.
My car or computer is older or very modest, or I don't have one at all.
I make enough money to afford essentials comfortably, but sometimes I need to hold off on extras.

TIER THREE: $65:
I am unemployed, or work part-time or am unpaid for what I do.
I am a student.
I have a crippling amount of debt.
I am on a Commonwealth Connector health plan or MassHealth.
I am on disability.
I earn less than a living wage ($13.69/hour in Cambridge)
I have a fixed income.
I currently receive some kind of government assistance.
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When people ask me what feminism means (why is this still something that happens?), I feel like the standard answer of how women and men should live in equality just LACKS SOMETHING. It's too obvious and lacks some of the scholarship and depth that a lot of women worked hard to put out there, and it doesn't connect any dots for me.

Tonight I'm in bed with my sweetheart reading Joanna Russ's book _What Are We Fighting For_, which is excellent and funny and smart and I'm learning a lot of things I haven't learned before, when I see this paragraph, which to me, is a very good summary early feminist thought that still stands true today:

"I mean the ideas that men and women constitute sex-classes (the term is Dworkin's), that the interests of these sex-classes are often opposed, that the "personal" is in large part produced by the "political", that the division between private and public life is a social construct, imposed by propaganda and force, that relegating women's experience of oppression to the "private" realm is itself oppressive and mystifying, that gender is a social construct, that the father-headed family is a social institution that functions to exploit and oppress women, that the social construction of "femininity" produces large benefits for somebody, that the work women do *as women* is unrecognized and unpaid, that such work is not "natural" but socially arranged, that male priviledge, just like skin priviledge and class priviledge, exists whether or not individual men want it to, that such a state of affairs, although it hurts men, hurts women more, and that feminist opposition to women's oppression is not based on altruism or the love of abstract justice but on our own anger and our own healthily selfish desires for a more happy life."

I want to bullet-point this list and put it in a pamphlet to hand to people.
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So something changed this week and things are shaking loose, things are moving. I have faith in my decision to take on being part of The Meeting Point, which I didn't have a week ago. Sometimes things just need to wait to become clear, and they might get murky or muddy again before they truly make sense, and that is part of things, I think.

I have been taking a self-defense course through IMPACT Boston, and that is a huge part of my clarity and strength. Along with learning how to physically defend myself to the point of taking down an attacker, I have also learned such useful skills as "5 Steps for articulating what you want"

1. Breathe
2. Identify what is actually happening (focus on behavior and actions, not on labelling other people)
3. Identify what your feelings are about this.
4. Figure out what you need.
5. Articulate #2-4.
(Bonus #6: Notice how the other person responds to your expression of a boundary or need. This may help clue you in to this person's trustworthiness towards you.)
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This is a shout-out to anybody reading this that I've worked on.  Do you feel like writing me a yelp review?  I'd be most appreciative!  Business has been super-slow the past month and I'm trying to get more web 2.0.<input ... ></input><input ... >
 
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"Freud engaged in what has been called "the negotiation of reality."  A dynamic characteristic of patriarchal transactions, the negotiation of reality involves the naming of reality by the person (usually male) holding the power.  Commonly, what is named as real is, in fact, an abstract distortion of reality designed to place distance between the actor and his action"

Kim Crawford Harvie, 1984
 
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I was disappointed to read that Debbie Stoller, editor of BUST magazine only just learned of the Bechdel test for movies.  Really?  I'm more in the loop on this than a Yale-educated successful feminist magazine editor/founder who lives in NYC?  I just found out about the website.
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I have a red radio flyer wagon.  I used to use it to drag laundry and groceries and plants around, but honestly, I only did that about 4 times and it's in shiny new red condition.  Does anybody local want it, either as a long-term loan or just to have?  It was a gift that I used to be attached to, but no more (maybe).  Any takers?
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As in, to replace me as I move in with my (not sick of saying it yet) *girlfriend*

http://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/sub/1543966600.html
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Plus: was led to a blog I didn't know existed that I enjoy reading.
Minus: was hit with the fact that people are still doing this, which somehow, reading down this list, felt like a punch in the chest:
stuffwhitepeopledo.blogspot.com/2009/11/whiten-their-names.html
A lot of this was stuff I already knew.  I knew that people in entertainment weren't all born with slick names, that being named Eugene Orowitz doesn't make you not destined to play Laura Ingalls's dad on tv, and that a lot of people whose life's work revolves around a created persona adopt professional names for a variety of reasons.  There are people not on this list, too.  And there are people whose ethnic realities are incidentally (or on purpose by well-meaning parents) removed by how we are named.  Reading down this list, I was thinking "dang!  that's a lot of hot Jews!".  How might our world be different if Winona Horowitz been the hottest actress in the early 90s?  A lot of the people on this list are people that I think of as being very sort of All-American, I don't know how else to explain it.  I mean, we all know that Joan Rivers, Jon Stewart, Woody Allen, Natalie Portman, Bob Dylan are Jews.  But Kathy Lee Gifford was an Epstein?  Really?  It's not just Jews, either.  Latino, Greek, Italian, Nordic, Russian, Irish, and more, there are a lot of things that it's not prudent to own about yourself if you want to be famous and loved in America.
 
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So some of you know that I'm in a band, Brief Awakening, but few of you know that we are playing as part of the midnight Pirate Cabaret at the Coolidge Corner theater on Talk Like a Pirate Day.  Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.  But this is not the best venue to see us perform, because all we're doing is playing one song with rewritten pirate lyrics and wearing pirate drag.  But the rest of the pirate cabaret, organized by Big Moves, might be your thing.  It probably should be.
The best venue to see us perform is either gonna be this Friday night at Goddessfest 2.5, at Out of the Blue gallery for $5 or next Tuesday at All Asia for whatever they charge.  We are doing a full set in a small venue and it should be fun, casual and less crowded than Goddessfest 2, which was pretty out of hand.  All Asia may have better sound engineering than it did last time.  At least, a girl can hope.
Playing with Brief Awakening is one of the two best new developments in my year.  Today the goal is to get out to Wood & Strings before I have to go to work and buy some sax reeds.
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So, today at the Central Square Farmer's Market, I ran into my old officemate Mischa Shuler, proprietrix of Wild Carrot Herbs.  Mischa is awesome, and has set up shop selling teas, tinctures, oils, salves, etc. at the Farmer's Market (Central Square Mondays only).  She has some standard things, you know, Prenatal Tea, Cold/Flu Tea, etc, but I was intrigued by her "Biker/Athlete Tea" which she said is really mineral-dense and good for supporting muscles and connective tissue and bones, especially in the lower belly/pelvis region.  I wanted to buy one ounce, but she only had two-ounce packets available and I only had $5 available, so she said "you know what?" and flipped me a two ounce package and took my $5.  In exchange, I told her I would pimp her product and services to likely-seeming prospects.  My plan is to take it all week and see if I feel different, and if I can recommend it to any of you.  I asked her "Is there anybody that you would recommend not use this mix?" and she said no.
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So, I posted to facebook that I'm looking for computer help in exchange for massage.  I have a bunch of hopefully-small things that need doing, in 3 categories:
1. My PC: needs some antiviral love.  Among other things, my antivirus stuff now appears to think it's German.  Ja!  No idea how that happened, but at least it's jogging my long-gone language skills.  Also, my Palm software appears wonky, and my wireless connectivity is spotty.  It is not spotty on my laptop held in the same spot as my PC.

2. Oldish iBook: OS X 10.3.9 is too old for current-issue flashplayer, and this is what I have.  Also, it's running wicked lagged a lot of the time and one day ZI restarted it and inexplicably it restarted with the most annoying font known to man as the "type in the box" font. 

3.My Website: appears to be having problems.  My mom emailed me the error messages.

Anyone want to take a crack at anything?
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I have a friend, new to town, who is looking for babysitting/childcare gigs while she looks for a more full-time job.  She is 28, experienced, and has a masters in something special-ed-related from Columbia, and is, you know, generally a caring and intelligent person.  Does anybody have any use for this information?
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Do I have any friends who want to go cross-country skiing tomorrow?  It seems like a very good idea. I would be free after 2pm.
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Who wants to help me install a wireless card into my desktop computer and make it work?  Informal trade could be worked out.
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An outlet in my room is defective, not to mention annoyingly ungrounded.  Does anyone I know either know a professional I could pay or trade with or someone who can fix this in a non-professional way?
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Should you be about to buy a bed ANYWAY, I recommend going to the new Sleepy's in Central Square and being attended to by the district manager guy.  He can provide certain deals at this time that are not usually available.  I almost crapped myself.
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A huge, huge thank you to everyone who helped me move on Saturday.  Everything I own is now in a medium-sized room in Inman Square!  It's a weird feeling.  One observation: half of a married couple owns more stuff than a single person.  It's true!  I have enough glasses to start a catering rental company or something.  The glasses I think I am keeping, because I like them and they are no longer made and they are very useful to me, but a LOT of other stuff is going away.  Is there any Thing or Stuff that would be of use to you?  Seriously, tell me what it is, because there is a chance I'm getting rid of it.  
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I need a serious heavy-duty cleansing ritual for my office before I will be able to return to work there.  Anybody out there able to/interested in helping me do this?
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