IZM 2017 Recap

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This year’s International Zine Month almost didn’t happen. For the better part of the month, I was changing diapers and missing out on sleep while lamenting my lack of time to do any decent zine production. For the rest of the month, I was changing diapers and missing out on sleep, while trying my best to engage in zine-related activities and missing out on even more sleep.

Obviously, as I mentioned in a previous post, I couldn’t do all the activities listed for IZM, and unfortunately, I was also unable to do the 24-Hour Zine Thing. So instead I made a short list of activities I could probably do. Here’s what I managed to do with this year’s IZM:

Cover - pic

Create a profile on the new We Make Zines website:
To be perfectly honest, I don’t like the new website. It doesn’t have as many options to edit the profile as the Ning one did. But I still created what minimal profile was allowed on the website, joined a few groups and added a few friends.

Read some of my unread zines that I got in trades:
I had a pile of them on my desk for further reading. Some of them were pretty good. But there were some that put me to sleep and gave me a headache. I struggled to keep reading them hoping that I might actually find something of interest in them, but I couldn’t do it. At some point, I just told myself, fuck it. If the zine doesn’t draw me in, I’ll just drop it and find something better to do with my time. I’m trying to find some place/zine library/people to send these zines to. I don’t generally like to throw zines away.

Send a few more zines to Quimby’s Bookstore:
They actually manage to sell some of my zines! And I recently asked my friend from Boston to send back to me all the leftover zines I sent there for the zine fest of 2015. So now that I had a bunch of extra copies, I decided to send some of them to Quimby’s. They were happy to restock them.

Revamp my Etsy shop:
There were a few edits I had to make for the items I posted, and add a new item (the full postcard collection of Alternative Jerusalem). I also edited some of the prices, amount of items in stock, and categories.

Set up an inventory system for all my zines:
I spent a whole day counting the copies of all my zines and postcards. I wrote it all by hand in a notebook but that proved to be a mistake whenever I reprinted an issue or sold some and the numbers had to be changed. So I took my notebook to work and set up a chart on Excel.

Send trading requests and trade:
I once traded with Katherine Montalto. She sent me some pretty cool zines plus a few small drawings she made. I loved her drawings so much that I decided to frame them and hang them in my daughter’s bedroom. I contacted her again this year and we agreed to trade again. I can’t wait to see what she sends me this time! I also contacted Xyendra Fragola and just recently sent them a couple of my zines. Xyendra and I have been in touch since 2004 through the defunct MSN Spaces (before it was taken over by Windows Live before it was taken over again by WordPress. This blog started off as an MSN Space). I followed Xyendra’s progress with IZM activities on Facebook and I’m excited to see what they’ll send me!

Make an attempt to write a full-length zine:
I actually got all the written part down for this zine. Unfortunately, I wrote it all on computer instead of by hand or typewriter as this would have taken me way too fucking long. Also, the subject matter of the zine is of a sensitive nature so it will not be published here or posted for sale on Etsy. I will share it with a few select people (you know who you are) once it’s laid out.

Design a catalog for my Etsy shop:
It took me much longer than I expected but I got it done! I’m very pleased with it. I will send it out along with zines sold or traded.

Twigz 3What I planned to do but didn’t manage was: Make a mini-zine, respond to penpal letters, and make a new logo/flyer for my Etsy shop. On the very last days of the month, I even came up with an idea for a stencil for a new patch. I drew the image with a sharpie, hoping to make it as thick as possible. My husband printed it on a transparency, and today I attempted to transfer it onto the exposure sheet. But it didn’t work. It could be that the artwork wasn’t dark enough or maybe the exposure sheet was too old. I ordered it sometime around summer of 2015. Just like camera film tends to expire, maybe the exposure sheet does too. So when I noticed it didn’t work, I made the drawing a little darker and thicker and ordered a refill of exposure sheets. I hope to be able to do the rest of the activities as well as try the stencils again during August or something.

Lack of sleep notwithstanding, I had a good time on IZM anyway. I loved having the chance to deal with zines, talk about zines, read zines, being somewhat artsy after a longass time of being completely out of the scene.

Peace, love and hoping for more extensive and intensive IZMs in future years.

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Messy Catalog

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One of the activities I had lined up for International Zine Month was to design a catalog for my Etsy shop, PMS Mess.

PMS banner

I compiled all the photos of my zines and descriptions and tried to figure out how to organize it all by hand. I wanted the catalog to be all cut and paste and look pretty much like my perzine does. But every time I tried to see how to make the modules fit, my mind kept coming up with ideas that would only work with Adobe InDesign.

The descriptions are all computerized. If I want it manual, I would have to copy it all by hand or typewriter. Imagine how wonderfully bruised up my hands would be if I had to copy the descriptions for 16 issues of Fallopian Falafel, 13 issues of PMS, 8 postcards, plus several care packages. Imagine how long it would take me. I much rather use that time to make an actual zine.

That’s besides the fact that I would have to organize it in a way that would incorporate photos and backgrounds. Huge headache.

So InDesign it is. I used that program to lay out my first zine, Fallopian Falafel, and I was very happy with the result every time a new issue came out. I remember compiling all the submissions and laying them out one by one, playing around with the formatting and fonts, having an awesome time. The sense of accomplishment and elation was immediate and I would lose track of time every time I laid out a new issue.

This time was no different. After my husband took the baby to daycare, I spent the rest of my morning working on the catalog. I didn’t get very far because I spent quite a bit of time figuring out what I wanted to have on the cover and went back and forth between Photoshop and InDesign, setting the background, choosing the right font, changing it around until I was happy with it.

Again, just like it was with Fallopian Falafel, I had a blast and lost track of time.

“It’s already 11:00!” I exclaimed. “Fuck you clock!”

I only got to the 9th issue of FF, but since I have the margins down, it’s all Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V from now on.

Peace, love and InDizzy

Ughtown

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So in an additional effort to promote my Etsy shop, i attempted to post an “Etsy Mini” badge on the sidebar of this blog. I tried using the widgets to do it and picked the “Text” widget where you can paste your own text or HTML. I got the code from Etsy and for some reason, it didn’t work. I tried a million of different ways, widgets, formats, still nothing.

After about an hour of breaking my head, I went to my PMS Blogger site to give it a shot there. And it worked. On the spot. No questions asked, no weird codes, no bullshit. Just wonderful and totally user-friendly.

Since this is bullshit, I decided to try it as a blog and see whether or not it works.

new Etsy.Mini(6292943,’thumbnail’,4,3,1,’https://www.etsy.com’);

And of course it doesn’t.

What a load of crap.

Peace, love and technology, schmektology.

Band-Aid for My Bleeding Ears

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While I was walking around in Rome on a particularly rainy day, I kept thinking I should probably take my mp3 player out of the little pocket of my backpack and bury it somewhere deep inside backpack-proper to keep it from getting wet. But being lazy and thinking “meh, it’ll be fine,” I left it where it was and sure enough, it got soaked and broke.

Again.

The first time happened here. And then it happened again here.

So since I already got used to having my mp3 player break and replacing it every Monday and Thursday, I was surprisingly nonchalant this time around. However, I was on the train with my boyfriend on my way back to Be’er Sheva from the airport when I craved music again. I tried the broken mp3 player again, but it was still dead.

At first, I thought I could handle it. But then, some guy on the train found it appropriate to blast Middle Eastern music, and some kid wouldn’t stop screaming bloody murder. My poor ears were being ripped to shreds, and I started mourning Kathy, when finally my boyfriend took one look at my horrified expression, and lent me his player for a while.

“Here,” he said. “You need this more than me.”

I turned the player to Arafel, and when the riffs exploded through the earphones, I breathed a loud, heavy sigh of relief and sloped down on my seat.

At least that’s one good thing to come out from my boyfriend’s Smartphone, I thought about the useless digital maps on the device that led us nowhere back in Italy, and shuddered.

Once we were back in Jerusalem, my boyfriend gave me the iPod he no longer uses since he got that chip for his Smartphone with like a zigabite worth of space or something.

I spent a good amount of time deleting a bunch of bands I don’t really care for (mainly Tool, Dream Theater, Slipknot and a few others) and added a bunch that my boyfriend doesn’t really care for but that I do (stuff like Michael Jackson, Funset, Lunachicks, etc.). All those mixed in with the bands we both enjoy (Arch Enemy, King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, Deicide, Arafel, Nirvana, Amon Amarth, Death, Carcass and loads of others) makes for one mean Badass-friendly playlist.

I never thought the day would come, but here I am now, an owner of an iPod.

Me. With an iPod.

Me. Who loves typewriters, audio cassettes, and VCRs. And who hates modern technology as much as I hate Middle Eastern music.

Now became Me. Who owns an iPod.

I must admit though, I love it! The playlist is great, and sometimes surprising because it includes more songs than I’ve had before. So sometimes I fall on a song of Rammstein I’ve never heard before and realize that it’s totally awesome. Same goes for Disturbed, Amon Amarth and Slash. With a little over 1000 songs in my new player, I brace myself for a nice little auditory rollercoaster every time I plug in my earphones.

Peace, love and Music is definitely still the Pulse.

Musical DROUGHT!

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Six months after buying a new mp3 player because my previous one started acting funky, the new one followed suit. It happened two weeks ago when I left the dentist’s office in a rage because they made me miss out on hours that could be better spent in bed.

I left the clinic, with my head on fire, thinking “The only thing that could save me now is some good old brutal, face-melting, skin-shredding, brain-splattering death metal.” And as my shitty luck would have it, my player dies. The battery was half full, it was still shiny without a scratch on it, not even on the touch-screen, and it had no reason to die. But it expired anyway.

So I took my scorching head to the bus, rode home and laid my burnt-to-a-crisp head on my pillow, trying to forget this day ever happened. 

The next day, I took the player to the store where I bought it, along with my proof of warranty. They said to leave it overnight and call back the next day, at which point they told me to call back in a week, at which point they told me to call in another week… and now they tell me it might (keyword: might) be ready by tomorrow, at which point I will not be able to go and pick it up because I’ll be on a two-hour bus ride to Be’er Sheva and spend the weekend in my family’s religious household, desperately music-less.

My coworker lent me her 1 gig player, but it also doesn’t work. My boyfriend lent me a walkman. Walkmans are awesome vintage devices that will never go out of style, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’ve become completely obsolete. One can only have so many cassettes and so many batteries for such a contraption. 

After all, my defunct player had 8 gigs worth of space, and I have only so much patience to sit my ass down and make mix tapes out of my overflowing CD rack to equate the amount of songs that can fit in an 8 gig player. As a result, I’ve been listening to the first six songs of Arch Enemy’s Khaos Legions, one Cathy Santonies song, two Bikini Kill, two Hole, two Janet Jackson and one and a half Madonna on a loop for the past two weeks.

I know many of my friends can’t handle bus-rides and stressful days without their players any more than I can. I understand. Music is tantamount to life-support. I just hope to survive until salvation comes in the form of a new player, if I’m lucky, by next week.

Peace, love and gasping for air.

About My Emma

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Two days ago, I finally bought a new mp3 player. I named her Emma, for no particular reason. I set it to load all night, and yesterday morning I woke up at 5:00 a.m. to pack it with my favorite tunes. So my bus ride to work yesterday was the first time in almost three weeks that I listened to music on the bus. It was like salvation.

I don’t know what it is about music that is so addictive, but all I know is that Jim Morrison knew what he was talking about when he said “music inflames temperament,” even if he was under the influence of several heavy-ass narcotics. Music can ignite, fuel, arouse, and it can sooth, relieve and comfort. Music can be used as a weapon of revolution, a tool of empowerment, an energizing pill for a power-walk, a sedative for those painful times, or sometimes served best as a romantic serenade with a side of candlelight.

However you use music is a subjective issue. What I don’t understand is people who do not listen to music. I mean, if you like Mizrachi, go with it. If you listen solely to Hassidic tunes, whatever floats your yacht. If you listen to Voodoo Zulu music, with tam tams, and whoowhoo sounds, and dance around a bonfire while you’re at it, go on and enjoy the culture shock. If, you’re a headbanging riot grrrl like me, kickass.

But if you don’t listen to music, know nothing about riffs, drumbeats, melodies, never heard of the biggest names in music, that makes me a sad panda. I can’t understand that. I can’t wrap my messy hair around it, I really can’t. Try as I may, it’s virtually inconceivable. I mean, even my boss who is an enormous Orthodox Jewish businessman from New York, who seems to be interested in nothing but donors and religious affairs, every once in a while, I hear him humming some random tune at his office while he’s flipping through stacks of printed emails.

I used to think it was a matter of taste, and that some people have none. But now I think it’s a matter of culture, and some people have none.

I’ve been listening to music ever since I was born. I started off with children tunes, as well as an old tape of classical music my dad gave me (if you can picture a little three-year-old grrrl listening to Vivaldi). Then, I graduated to my dad’s oldies, Beatles, Elvis, the likes (even before I spoke a word of English, and today I’m still totally in love with Doors, Janis, Hendrix, Zappa…). Then, I moved on to Rap (while still not really understanding a word, cuz if I did, I probably wouldn’t have listened to it), then Michael Jackson (who I still love to Heaven and beyond), then came the heavier tunes that I listen to today: Nirvana, Manson, all Riot Grrrl bands, and the heavier still, Arch Enemy and other bands who have the power to raise the motherfucking dead.

Now that I’m waiting to buy the new Arch Enemy record, Khaos Legions, I can’t be more convinced of my prediction that I will probably kick the bucket with earphones in my ears. I will listen to music to my dying breath. 

Peace, love and “speculate to break the one you hate, circulate the lie you confiscate, assassinate and mutilate…” – MJ RIP

Money Talks, Bullshit Walks

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In this week’s segment of Technology Sucks, we’ll be discussing mp3 players.

I know, I know. I just wrote about how much I love laying out my zine with Adobe, but I must say, sometimes I think technology contributes a whole hell of a lot to the stress in our lives and has the incredible ability to raise our blood pressure till our head explodes.

Last night, I was going through another one of my rages that involves screaming at the Golem also known as my laptop. It’s partly my fault that it’s so fucking slow, because I haven’t formatted it once since I bought it, which was four years ago, which in technological terms means 40 years ago. Typewriters own. Enough said. 

My cell phone is an old Nokia, with a keypad that has English letters and Arabic letters (why, I’ll never know). My dad bought it for me back in the summer of 2005, and now it’s held together with scotch tape. Again in technological terms, it was created in the Middle Ages, but the motherfucker works perfectly fine. I don’t see any need for me to buy one of those Iphones or Uphones or whatever-the-fuck-they’re-called that have everything from a video player to a fucking ATM machine built in them.

My wrist watch is almost 14 years old. It was running on the same battery for 12 years. Even after I changed the battery and I changed the strap because the velcro lost its velcroness, my pretty purple Timex, which was a gift I got from my dad for my 15th birthday, works perfectly, and it kicks ass.

Today, I still mourn VCRs. I NEVER understood what’s so fucking great about DVDs. When people started using them, they’re all like “Oh, the image is so clear and the sound is so crisp, and oh I’m such a consumerist sheep and I keep kissing capitalist ass because I’m a slave to the system.”

Bullshit.

The DVD cuts the image from the top and the bottom and makes it look like you’re watching a strip of film zooming by your screen. I’m sorry. That’s not better than VHS. That sucks ass! I seriously hope my parents kept their multi-system VCR. All my favorite home videos are on VHS and I can’t transfer them to DVDs because the audio and video are never synchronised when you make the transfer.

Back to portable music players, I never had much luck with them. Whether a walkman or a discman or an mp3 player, somehow they always manage to fuck up. It’s those things that I use the most and am very thankful they exist because I really have trouble going for more than a couple of hours without listening to music.

So fine, when I’m at work, I can’t listen to music, because when at work, one must suffer. But I listen to it on my way to work (sometimes, I’d be blasting Deicide straight down my Eustachian Tubes at 7:00 a.m.), and I listen to it on my way home (mostly opting for Riot Grrrl to get me pumped up and ready for a night of zine-production).

Up until recently, I’ve been using this really neat 4 Gig mp3 player my parents bought me about three years ago. But now, it got all fucked. The “outlet” where the earphones jack goes got all wobbly on the inside, so the audio shifts around and stutters and gets all staticy and shit. Sometimes, all I’d be hearing would be the drums, sometimes it’s only the guitar, sometimes it’s all the instruments, but the singer’s voice disappears and becomes a weird-sounding echo in the background.

The other day, when I was on the bus on the way home from work, I got so angry, I nearly punched a hole through the palm of my hand while banging it several times with my player with the earphones jack pointing down.

That’s when I realized if there’s one thing I’m addicted to more than writing, it’s music. But I already knew that. But it was never as pronounced as it was this time because I always had music readily available. I’ve been going for almost a week listening to music only at home, and I’m experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms.

I must regretfully bury and mourn my defunct mp3 player and buy something else that will probably break within a couple of months, too. This is the product of a capitalist society. And this is how it work:

1) Convince people that what they have is old and obsolete, and that they’ll be much better off with new shit.
2) Make sure the new shit they buy is frail and is not built to last more than a year, at most.
3) People will eventually get used to the new shit and once it breaks, they will go and buy a newer (and frailer) version of the new shit.

And the cycle resumes.

Peace, love, and I swear, one of these days, people will be walking around saying, “oh, hold on a minute, my v-chip is getting another call.”