Inspire Me Timbers

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This past Yom Haatzmaut had such craptacular weather, I spent most of the day holed up in my apartment, with the curtains closed so that I won’t accidentally get a glimpse of the shit going on outside. The good thing about it was that it gave me plenty of time to work on my art projects. I managed to design three more postcards, made five different button designs, and finally set up and posted a PDF version of Fallopian Falafel issue 13 online after five years of having it unavailable as such.

So yes, I felt pretty accomplished and quite pleased with myself. On Friday, I left to Be’er Sheva with a overwhelming sense of “wow, I rule”.

But today, I woke up with an overwhelming sense of “wow, I feel like shit”. I think it might have something to do with the dreams I had last night. I don’t remember any of them but I remember the feeling I had when I was dreaming them and it was bad. Very bad. So bad that today I completely lack inspiration, and I’m beyond tired. Even reading Stephen King seems to me like such a chore right now.

I really hope this feeling goes away and fast because I want to start on my upcoming zine, which I was supposed to start last week and didn’t get around to it because of all the other art I was drowning in.

I hope metal night tonight should do the trick. I’m taking over the playlist. Fuck the new blood happy hour assholes. Go away.

Peace, love and buttons.

Zine Slut

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BZFWhile I’m getting ready to travel to the other side of the planet in June, I’m also getting ready to travel there again in October.

I thought that I might catch the Philly Zine Fest in June but it doesn’t look promising, but the Boston Zine Fest in October does! In fact, I think my friend already signed us up as tabling there together, which should be nothing short of goddamn fucking incredibly and wonderfully and amazingly EVERYTHING!

As part of my efforts in gearing up for my very first zine fest (I’ll be so happy to pop that cherry) I’m going over all my completed zines of yesteryear. That includes 16 issues of Fallopian Falafel, 10 issues of PMS Perzine (and perhaps one or two more to come before October rolls around), three issues of End of Words, and a few other random one-off publications like my fiction story insert, Diamond’s photobook and the one of my trip to Barcelona, and maybe a couple more I’m forgetting. That’s a lot of zines. And aside from all that, I also want to make some patches for sale, print a few more copies of my Alternative Jerusalem postcards, maybe make a few buttons with my friend’s help, and also throw in some copies of Mistress Distress‘s CD, not to mention about a million fliers and shit.

Clearly, if I print 10 copies of everything, you can imagine I’ll have a heavy load to carry halfway across the world, which is why my friend suggested that I send at least some of it by mail and she can keep it until the fest.

However, I’ll also have to see whether or not all this load will even fit on the table I will be assigned. You can tell I’ve never done this before.

Also, whether I manage to sell any of my stuff is yet to be seen. But that’s not even the point. The mere experience of being in a zine fest, which has been a dream of mine since I started making zines, is the end in itself. Making new zinester friends and contacts, trading art work and publications, giving and getting fliers and maybe even music – this is the experience I want. Selling a few items here and there will only be a nice little extra, but not the main reason for my participation in the fest.

I’m super-doodly-duper excited for it!

So I’m going over the PDFs of the 16 issues of Fallopian Falafel making sure they’re of good print quality and include the bleed. I’ll print 15 copies of each, send 10 copies to my friend (in batches of course because I doubt I can fit 160 zines in a single envelope), and save five copies of each to post on my Etsy shop – Fallopian Falafel fans rejoice!  Any leftover material from the fest will stay in Boston. My friend said she’ll sell it or give it out or leave it in the library where she works and people can check it out. Whatever she decides.

I get feverish just thinking about all the money I will be spending on printing and mailing out all that shit, not to mention the flight fare, but it’ll be totally worth it, as zine and DIY production usually is.

Peace, love and PMS – Power Mensies Sisters: Out for Blood!

All I Leave Behind

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I had great plans for the Passover holiday. One of them was rereading all my old diaries to find entries that I could include in a new split-zine I will be writing with my friend. This was an activity that I underestimated in terms of just how long it will take me to read all my diaries, which was basically the entire week. So all my other plans fell through, and I just kept on reading, marking pages, highlighting, noting stuff down…

I also underestimated the emotional effect that rereading all this shit would cause. All the corpses that would resurface. It was a rollercoaster of emotions – some parts made me laugh, some inspired me to no end, some parts even turned me on. But some parts were also shocking and terrifying, confusing and utterly heartbreaking, mainly because I couldn’t believe that this was once me. That I would express myself this way, and that this was how I thought I felt and how, in some instances, I completely misled myself. In 2003, I spent half a diary talking about my boyfriend of the time in excruciatingly graphic detail. Not one page would go by without my mentioning how much I love him and all that shit. After a hiatus of at least a year an a half (about a year after he broke up with me), I wrote an angry entry, in big capital letters:

“[name] is a motherfucking shitty asshole! The only good thing he ever did was reveal his true colors when he broke up with me.” Then I went on to say how guys are only good for one thing and that’s fucking. Then I wrote a note to myself to read this entry a couple million times before ever allowing myself to fall into the abysmal hell also known as love.

Although I knew this before, it was only after I read this entire diary that I realized how true this was – I was never in love with this guy. I was obsessed with him. None of it was true, none of it was real. I was misled into thinking I was in love. I was blind to that until I went through therapy and learned to love without killing myself and without focusing my world around “him”. It was only when I met my husband when I learned what true love feels like. And I wrote about that too in my later diaries, when I first met Elad and felt true love for the first time: “I still feel like I come first. Like my inner child comes first, but I love the shit out of this guy – how is that possible?”

I told my husband about the journal entries I wrote when we first met. It turned both of us on. When I put all these experiences in perspective, I suddenly became more attracted to him, even more than before.

Later on I also wrote about the horrible job I had for two years and how I was struggling to keep myself sane by keeping a steady social life, hanging out with my boyfriend, and writing endlessly, even if it kept me up well past my bedtime and I woke up the next day feeling like a zombie. I was amazed at how strong I was and how I pushed myself to write even if I was beyond tired (or as I put it: “somewhere between excruciatingly exhausted and comatose”), and how I managed to overcome my fatigue with the help of my art.

As I read these entries, I felt overcome with a sense of inspiration like I haven’t felt in a long time.

I want to resume my journal writing and I think I’ll start this week. I’ve just been bogged down with zine plans and zine writing (which is no less awesome, I must say!), plus I have a contribution to write to this riot grrrl anthology, plus I have some letters to write, packages to pack, and shit to mail out, plus I have to start this split-zine as well… basically all the stuff I had planned for this past week and managed to do nothing.

AND, I just got word that I’m about to receive a new stack of Stephen King books… oh boy. You’re just gonna drown me in your prose again, Steve, aren’t you? And keep me from getting any decent writing done, isn’t that right? Why must you always be so fucking awesome?

The inspiration to read Stephen King somehow always demolishes my inspiration for creativity. Always. Without fail.

I feel so happy and so sad at the same time. *sigh*

Peace, love and Deicide show in Las Vegas. Can you dig it?

The Beautiful People in My Beautiful Life

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You know, I’ve heard of people talking about someone in their life who makes them into a better person or made their life better.

“I feel like a better person, and I enjoy my life a lot more when I’m around Mr. XYZ,” they would say. But I never actually thought that made any sense. You’re either a good person or you’re not. You’re the master of your own fate.

But then I met someone who improved my life so drastically that it did in fact make me a better person. I married him.

I know that sounds corny but it’s true. I just thought about my life before I met Elad and after I met him and noticed so many things that changed for the better.

The first thing I changed thanks to the man is my job. I had the most awful job on the planet. When I met Elad, he realized that not only does this job take up all of my time (that was a 50 hours a week job), and that I have no social life as a result, but that it also sabotages my psycho-emotional state because the boss was a verbally and emotionally abusive motherfucker, and I would come back home crying on a regular basis. Elad told me to quit on several occasions but I was afraid that I would not find another job and get into debt as I did when I quit that job once before and was forced to come back because I was flat broke.

“So go look for another job, and quit once you find one,” said Elad. “You don’t owe this guy anything, not even a two weeks notice.” Arch Enemy inspired me, but Elad gave me the final push, and I did indeed find a better job and I quit that godawful place with a self-satisfied grin on my face. No two weeks notice. Nothing. And now, I have the best job ever (20 hours a week), nice staff, awesome boss, who I actually invited to my wedding and signed as a witness.

Also, thanks to Elad, I get to travel more – Since we met, we’ve been to Belgium, Holland, France, Italy and Germany, and we also took a road trip to Eilat. This summer, we’re going to Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Montreal.

I go out a lot more – to bars, mostly on Metal Night, restaurants, parks, concerts, the beach…

I have more friends, most of whom I met through Elad and our shared love of metal.

I HAVE A DOG! Did you get that?! Thanks to my husband, I have a life and can finally afford to have a dog.

I have a rich and vibrant social life. My psycho-emotional state has never been better, not to mention my sex life. I’ll spare you the details, but I’ve experienced things with Elad that I have never experienced with any other partner or even myself.

I take better care of myself, I cook more, I eat better, I exercise more, and meditate more often. I have become a better person.

I also have a chance to be more creative. Because my job is so convenient, and because it’s part-time, I have more time for my arts, crafts and zine production. Now I may sometimes get lazy on that aspect. I mean, since I started my PMS zine in 2010, I only released 10 issues. That’s two issues a year, which is nothing.

And that brings me to the next person who made my life better – my Salem friend. Because ever since I met her, which was barely six months ago, I already released two issues of PMS, one of which was a split zine with her, and we have plans for two more split zines way before this year is over, plus extra art projects that I made (postcard designs, button designs, a contribution for her zine, ongoing letters and packages we exchange back and forth), as well as the International Zine Month I am planning on doing this July including another 24-Hour Zine. So this year, I will have released at least five issues of PMS, three of which will be split zines with my friend.

Thanks to her, I feel more inspired and my creativity took on whole new proportions that I never even thought possible. Laziness is no longer on the bill. Seriously, I wish all my friends were as enthusiastic about zines as she is. Maybe if they were, we could finally have an Israeli zine fest that I am so longing for.

So corny or not, I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to my husband and my Salem friend for intertwining in my web of karma, thus improving my life as a feminist and as a person, and I’d also like to thank the Forces that Be for making our roads intersect.

You guys rule!

Peace, love and on a completely unrelated note, come on Summer! Get a move on and get here already!

Kosher Lite

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I haven’t started my Passover cleaning yet. Does that make me a bad person?

Does it also make me a bad person that I choose to stick with the regular chametz dogfood I have and not force Diamond to make do with kosher for Passover dogfood that she may not even like?

Back in Canada, during Passover, we kept Buxy’s food outside our garage door. It was still in our private property so technically it was still in our house and it was still chametz. But that was because it was in the Exile, and if we went to the pet store and asked for kosher for Passover dogfood, the clerk would look at us with a puzzled look that said “Kosher dogfood? These Jews have gone nuts.”

And you can never get your house COMPLETELY chametz-free, can you? Especially if you’re someone like me who doesn’t clean the crevices between the floor tiles with a toothbrush, or buy kosher for Passover toothpaste that tastes like sandpaper, or eat matza shmura that tastes like newspaper. Give me some good old rice-cakes and be done with it.

Back when he was still my boyfriend, my husband asked me if I would still kiss him on Passover if he were to drink beer (made of wheat and most definitely chametz).

“Uh, DUH!” I replied with a hearty laugh. I may keep the basic kosher for Passover rules, but not kissing my lover because he had a pint is stupid.

I also don’t use kosher dishwashing soap, or kosher laundry detergent, or kosher body lotion. I say, if it’s not meant to be eaten, it doesn’t have to be kosher. For Passover or otherwise. Next we’ll start wearing clothes made with kosher for Passover fabric.

But there are people that go above and beyond. Like those who don’t put their matza anywhere near salads or sauces for fear that they may get wet and thicken (like bread).

In my family, however, we encourage getting matza a little wet because that shit is too dry and tasteless. So we spread everything on it, from cooked tomato salad to chocolate spread, and sometimes we also break it into a bowl of milk with some sugar and get kosher for Passover cereal!

And being Sephardi, I totally dig kitniyot (legumes, I think?). Again, rice-cakes is where it’s at.

Apparently, ganja is also considered kitniyot. So yay for being Sephardi!

Peace, love and kosher rat poison.

No Need for Weed

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The wedding was awesome. Everyone said so. They all told me they especially liked the music, so I think it’s safe to say that I’ve finally proven once and for all that Middle Eastern music is not the only genre that gets people dancing and one does not HAVE to torture people’s eardrums with this whiny shit all night.

And yes, we did have some metal tunes playing at the end. The metalhead group that we invited had the entire dance floor to themselves and went bananas, headbanging, jumping, circle pit, all the good stuff.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I danced the entire time, drank a lot of water, sweat it all out in yet another frenzied dance, and drank some more. I sweat so much, I even felt sweat on my legs! MY LEGS! Who the fuck sweats from their legs?

I also tried drinking some alcohol, but for some reason, my husband forgot to order the Smirnoff Ice I like. So I opted for a regular grapefruit vodka cocktail. I took no more than two or three sips from it, and had to set it aside because I just wasn’t digging it. For the rest of the night, I was on a natural high, and that was good enough for me.

On Sunday, four days after the wedding, we went to our first metal night as a married couple. Then on Monday, we went back to the bar for the mock elections they held. That night was amazing. I was on a natural high once again, and when the “Sunday Metal” party won (by one vote, but still a victory), and they played some more metal, I headbanged like I could not headbang on my wedding, because my hairdo didn’t allow it! I went back home with a sore neck, but that’s the sign that I had a blast. Also, my husband got nice and plastered, but experienced no nausea and no hangover the next day. So we both enjoyed a swell buzz indeed.

That night, I got my period and the next day I wrote my contribution for my friend’s zine “After the Blood” which is a special issue on the period. I wrote all about my experience in the mikve and how this monthly ritual affected the way I view my body and my menstrual cycle. I was looking forward to writing it all week, so once I finally got down to it, I enjoyed it so much that I got into the Zone. I haven’t been to the Zone in a while, and it felt so awesome to be back. And yes, that is definitely another natural high I experienced. Boy, if I’m not careful, my endorphins are going to become my drug of choice.

What will be my next fix you ask? Why, zine production of course!

Peace, love and that’s Mrs. Bar-Lev to you!

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A Feminist of Valor

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Yesterday was International Women’s Day, and for the occasion, I wrote a status on Facebook wishing the female variety a happy day. Seriously, I did nothing that involves feminism and female empowerment except for that.

Since yesterday was Sunday, we had metal night at Blaze. I thought maybe I should put on a powerful song by a female metal band as a tribute to IWD, but nothing came to mind. And they already played Arch Enemy with Angela on the lead, so yeah. Nothing more than that.

It got to a point where I started fantasizing about one of the dudes there making some sexist comment, just so I can say something bitching like “Number one, I’m a feminist. Number two, today is International Women’s Day. Number three, I may be small but I’m much stronger than I look, and you should watch your mouth or you won’t have any more fucking teeth left in it!”

But the guys at metal night are nice dudes. And they know I’m a feminist. And they know not to make any sexist comments when I’m around because I could leave them as bloody as I get when I’m on my period.

Come to think of it, I haven’t done too many feminist things lately. There was a Vagina Monologues presentation by the Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center on V-Day, but I didn’t go because I was out of town. So instead, I called up the JRCC and donated the equivalent amount of a VM ticket price, 80 NIS, so that even if I didn’t go to the show, I could still contribute to the fundraising efforts.

That was it.

Right now, I’m reading a book about Witches. I don’t mean a horror story. I mean a book on the actual pagan faith. It’s got a lot of feminist elements in it, and I find it utterly inspiring. So if that also counts as a feminist thing, then I’m also doing that.

RosiePlus, I’m also going to my very first mikve (ritual bath) today as a prerequisite by the Rabbinical Council for having a proper Jewish wedding. I promised my penpal friend, who is writing a comp zine on periods, that I will contribute a piece on the mikve once I experience it. I will write it in conjunction with my feminist beliefs and how this holy monthly ritual can be seen as a tremendous source of female empowerment. So I guess that’s another feminist thing.

While I’m on the topic of religion, my husband-to-be and I received a wonderful gift by one of the people who will not make it to the wedding. It was a Sabbath set including candle holders, a kiddish glass, a couple of prayer books (including one called Eshet Chayil – A Woman of Valor – with chants and hymns for the woman of the house. Yes, still totally feminist!), and my favorite – a cutting board for motzi bread! This last one is a super fancy board with a bread knife on the side and a tiny built-in bowl for salt. I’m so excited about it, I can’t wait to invite some friends over for a Sabbath dinner, and get a chance to use all that awesome stuff.

And since my man always relegates the kiddish and motzi to me, this soon-to-be-married feminist will be the one to do all the chants and all the prayers for the Sabbath dinner, and this time with a headscarf.

May be kinda reform, but you don’t get any more feminist than that!

Peace, love and Wednesday, March 11, 2015, Kaf Be’Adar, Tashaah.