Welcome to Maternity

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The reason I’ve been absent from my blog for so long and the reason I was rather cryptic in one of my previous posts was that I was pregnant. That’s right! I now have a mini badass I call my daughter. I wrote a whole bunch of blogs I saved as drafts on my experience as a pregnant lady. These drats are now saved as journal entries in a digital diary I recently started keeping. They won’t be posted here.

I will say this though. Being pregnant and giving birth (I had a natural birth with no epidural) was the most empowering, most intense and most divine experience I’ve ever had. I feel so blessed that the goddess saw it fit to give me this body, this ability to create life and of course to bless me with this beautiful child. This child is a living breathing miracle and proof positive that the goddess does exist if I ever needed proof in the first place.

And besides that, if you thought I was a feminist before, holy fuck, you don’t know half of it now!

One of the drafts I wrote was a list of reasons why being pregnant totally rules. So here it is.

1. You get to be a total bitch to everyone and no one can call you on it.

2. You get to eat everything in sight, put on weight, and have your doctor tell you that’s a good thing.

3. You get to belittle everybody’s stupid little health issues by saying “Well, I’m pregnant, so shut the fuck up”.

4. You get to order people around and you know they’ll do whatever you tell them because whatever excuse they use to try and not do it, you can say “Well, I’m pregnant. So suck it up”.

5. You don’t get your period! You don’t need to go to the mikveh, and you can still fuck your partner any time you want.

6. You get to shop for maternity clothes.

7. You get big hooters!

8. You get to tell people that you’re God because you make people.

9. (If you’re like me and you hate alcohol) people will finally stop pushing drinks on you.

10. (If you’re like me and you hate cigarettes) people will stay away from you when they smoke, or avoid smoking altogether.

11. You get kicked on a regular basis and enjoy the hell out of it.

I am pretty busy these days with taking care of my kid but I really miss writing. So I’ll try to write posts more often. Just today I was thinking how awesome it is that I managed to accomplish so much. I did the dishes, had breakfast, did the dishes again, baked a cake, did another load of dishes, had lunch, dishes yet again, and folded a load of laundry. And still have time to write this post. I must say I have a pretty awesome kid. I mean seriously, this past Shabbat, we slept for 11 hours! Usually, parents never get that much sleep.

Peace, love and Ima Badass

Rock On 2016!

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In a few of my past end-of-the-year posts, I wrote about the utter nonchalance or outright hate I have for the Gregorian new year’s and respective celebrations. This year I am also planning on not celebrating per say because in Israel, you just don’t feel it too much, except when you write a check or an invoice and need to date it correctly.

But as opposed to previous years, I plan on actually enjoying December 31-January 1st. After the dark, deep and cold abyss I fell into during the past month (for reasons I will not detail) I deserve a good start to the new year.

So for the occasion, I’ll start by working on a new issue of my zine, and write a bunch of longass letters to my penpals. Then, I’ll have a New Year’s breakfast with my good friend, Rachel, who is planning on making waffles (hell yes!).

After that, I have a whole list of awesome plans scheduled for January. I laid out an extensive and well-detailed itinerary and plans to follow through.

The schedule includes: sleeping in, writing letters, working on a zine, playing guitar, reading, baking muffins, go to the mikveh, go to the post office, go to metal night, doing Tai Chi, and the usual yet exciting daily activities such as taking out my dog, showering and eating.

Aside from that, I also included specific dates for organizing all my belongings in preparation for my move to the new apartment. We are set to move sometime around the end of January and both my husband and I are so super excited for the prospect of having a bigger space for all our stuff – our seven guitars and respective cases, our three amps, our sound system, our four laptops and one desktop, our enormous yet awesome collection of CDs, DVDs, records, plus our record player and tape deck, my enormous yet awesome collection of zines, books (that is at least 50 books of Stephen King among others), art materials, snail mail stuff, our mounds of clothes which our closet can barely contain, and more.

The best thing about January 2016 is my plans for the Fun-A-Day event I recently joined on Facebook! That event involves picking one activity to do every day in the month of January. So I picked listening to an album I’ve never listen to before in order to discover new music and add it to my iPod.

I made a list of 31 albums I’m interested in checking out on every day in January. Though most of these are bands I’m already familiar with and like quite a bit, the albums listed are those I’ve never really listened to in depth or at all. And here the list in its daily order:

  • Kataklysm: Shadows & Dust
  • Lloth: Dancing in the Dark Lakes of Evil
  • Slash: World on Fire
  • Disturbed: Indestructible
  • Marilyn Manson: The High End of Low
  • Rammstein: Liebe ist für alle da
  • Sleater-Kinney: (self-titled)
  • Iwrestledabearonce: Ruining it for Everybody
  • Winds of Plague: Against the World
  • Earth Crisis: Neutralize the Threat
  • Warbringer: Worlds Torn Asunder
  • Krisiun: The Great Execution
  • Vallenfyre: A Fragile King
  • Arafel: Second Strike: Through the Flames of the Ages
  • Vogelfrey: Zwolf Schritte zum Strick
  • Bratmobile: Pottymouth
  • Le Tigre: This Island
  • The Julie Ruin: Run Fast
  • Kataklysm: Epic: The Poetry of War
  • Astarte: Rise from Within
  • Hatesphere: New Hell
  • Omnium Gatherum: Years in Waste
  • Gates of Ishtar: The Dawn of Flames
  • King Diamond: Fatal Portrait
  • Mercyful Fate: 9
  • Screaming Mechanical Brain: The Policy of Unilateral Hate
  • Einherjer: Odin Owns Ye All
  • Dypsomaniaxe: One Too Many
  • Winter of Sin: Violence Reigns Supreme
  • Be’lakor: Stone’s Reach
  • Pantera: Cowboys from Hell

So once January rolls around, that is this Friday, I’ll start listening to these records and writing a short review of them here. In case you care, and even if you don’t 😛

Oh man, I can’t wait to check out Kataklysm! I heard one or two of their songs once and loved them so much, they actually appear twice in my list!

Peace, love and music forever!

This Is the Painkiller

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It started with pain, then continued with more pain, and along came another twist of pain. So I need to escape with everything I got because anything else happens and I’ll just give up.

So here are my plans to forget, ignore and self-medicate:

Metal night: I haven’t been since this whole ordeal began. I was happy about it at first – keeping a safe distance from a smoke-filled environment is always a good thing – but after a while, I missed it. And now that I feel like shit, I really need it. I’m going tonight.

Writing letters: I don’t know how much of an escape this will be as I will no doubt be revisiting the horror in letters to my penpals… but maybe I won’t. In any case, letters have been piling up for the past month and I really need to reply. And maybe reading and replying to other people’s problems will help me forget about my own.

FindersReading: Always the best escape. I just finished Stephen King’s Bazaar of Bad Dreams and just started Finders Keepers. King’s fiction is so realistic that living in his world and forgetting about my own is so easy and feels so natural. The dude is my ultimate salvation.

Zine-making: I have yet to start the layout of my zine about my trip to Salem. I procrastinated on
that because the crap I had to deal with left no room for any will to make any crafts. All I wanted to do was go home, wrap myself in winter blankets and cry. But there is a certain sense of peace and comfort in the zen vibes of zinestering. I just need to get it started and let it carry me off to the land of forget-escape-heal.

Guitar-playing: I’ve been neglecting Melissa for far too long. I hope I didn’t forget the opening riff to Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law”. I need to set up a time to play with my husband again. Not just to refresh my fingers on the solos of Marilyn Manson’s version of “Sweet Dreams” or on the blistering riffs of Green Day’s “Basket Case”, but also to relive that elation that only playing guitar can cause. That sense of oh-my-god-this-feels-so-fucking-rad-what-was-I-sad-about-again is an escape like no other. And Melissa is a pro at that.

Peace, love and pain, pain, killer, killer.

Split Ends and Split Zines

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As my husband was looking into concerts in the various cities we are planning to go to this summer, I was doing the same only with zine events and spots. I found a few zine events in Montreal, but not in the time that I’ll be there. I also found some zine libraries in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, but I don’t know if I should really go. I mean, I don’t know how inclusive these small local places are, and I feel like unless I go with someone who lives there and knows the scene and the people involved, I won’t feel confident enough and will actually feel like an outcast. So I dropped the idea.

Meanwhile, I’m focusing more on the new split-zine I’m working on with my friend (same one with whom I made the Stephen King split zine). A zine about journal entries is something I never considered until she brought it up, although I’ve always thought of a perzine as a sort of a diary. But I totally underestimated the amount of entries I wanted to include in it, so if the split-zine will have an even number of pages from either side, we are looking at a zine of no less than 96 pages!

Ninety-fucking-six, dude! And my husband will have the arduous task of printing it. I wonder if the binding could work out with staples or maybe we’ll have to design a spine and make it into a book. A paperback split-book written and laid out by hand, all about two zinesters’ adventures with journal writing… Goddamn.

But as my friend so eloquently said “We should never limit ourselves.” So if this zine is destined to turn into a book, I guess that this is what will happen.

Peace, love and make like a banana and split

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?

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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Zines = DIY Gold

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Today I want to write about zines. I mean, I write a lot about zines and my last post was also zine-related, but I still want to write about zines. It’s either writing a zine or writing about zines. And since I am just finishing up my part of a split-zine, writing ABOUT zines it is.

I first got into zines back in 2007. Come to think of it, I don’t exactly remember how or why. All I remember is that I was heavily into the riot grrrl scene (and still am). I was browsing some riot grrrl literature on eBay and ordered the book A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over the World. At that time, I’ve been in Israel for a year, working random translating jobs that had nothing to do with the field I really wanted to work in – Journalism. I’ve submitted a few articles here and there to the Jerusalem Post, and saw my work butchered by the editors, and I still didn’t make a rusty Agora for it. It was only after I read A Girl’s Guide that it occurred to me.

“Hey! I can make my own zine, publish my own work the way I wrote it, and fuck mainstream media!” It also occurred to me that I might not get paid for it either, but who cares? Using my journalistic skills and self-publishing was the end in itself.

People have sometimes asked me what does it take to make a zine. What tools do you need? What skills must you have? What stories, topics or themes should you explore?

I always gave the same answer: DIY. Do it yourself. Get your own tools, learn your own skills, tell your own stories. There are no rules, there are no limits. Best of all, there is no censorship. This is free speech and freedom of the press the way it was intended.

The only mandatory thing in zine culture is inspiration. I think that with inspiration, everything comes right along – patience, persistence, and an unyielding love for the craft. The zines you create with inspiration are the best zines you will ever make.

Of course, there are certain guidelines for zinesters if they want their readers to enjoy the full experience of zine-reading. The layout should be easy on the eyes, the script should be legible, the binding should be stable… I’ve also read suggestions from other zinesters who said that the pages must be numbered, you should have a table of contents, and somewhere in your zine there should be your name and contact information. But I don’t think these things are entirely necessary. Maybe there are some zinesters out there who do not wish to be contacted. I can sometimes relate to that. Zinesters are artists, and many of the ones I know (including myself) are introverts and loners. We find comfort in solitude. We find our inspiration and do our best work when we are left alone in silence, preferably in a sound-proof shelter room with a blasted heater.

Despite that, I still put my contact information on the back of my zines because I like to hear from others in the zine-scene. But that’s my own choice and may not apply to everyone.

After the split-zine I am currently finishing up is all printed, stapled and ready for distribution, I will write another issue which I’ve already started (probably after my wedding on March 11). It will be a zine about the wonderful and magical world of metaphors. Y’all should be on the lookout for it.

Also, I am jonesing for International Zine Month. I’m pretty sure my honeymoon will be in June, so I hope to be back home a bit before July so that I can prepare for that month and also do the 24-Hour Zine Thing again. So psyched for it!!

Keep up with any zine-related progress on my PMS zine blog (now featuring a sneak-peek into the upcoming split-zine) and don’t forget to Facebook Like it!

Peace, love and I do like it PMS, and I got it PMS.