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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for October, 2007

Sleepworking

October 23, 2007 By: jessicazafra Category: Science 1 Comment →

For centuries sleep was viewed as an annihilation of consciousness. Now scientists regard the sleeping brain as “an active, purposeful machine, a secretive intelligence that comes out at night to play—and to work—during periods of dreaming and during the netherworld chasms known as deep sleep.”

I’ve long suspected that writing actually gets done in your sleep, and what you do when you’re awake is basically transcription.

“Now, a small group of neuroscientists is arguing that at least one vital function of sleep is bound up with learning and memory. A cascade of new findings, in animals and humans, suggest that sleep plays a critical role in flagging and storing important memories, both intellectual and physical, and perhaps in seeing subtle connections that were invisible during waking — a new way to solve a math or Easter egg problem, even an unseen pattern causing stress in a marriage. The theory is controversial, and some scientists insist that it’s still far from clear whether the sleeping brain can do anything with memories that the waking brain doesn’t also do, in moments of quiet contemplation.”

Play

October 23, 2007 By: jessicazafra Category: Emotional weather report, Tennis 6 Comments →

Lashing rain and howling wind, my favorite weather. As long as I’m snug indoors and not desperately flagging taxis on the side of the road with my shoes soaked while gusts tear the umbrella out of my hand.

I was talking to Mike, who’s helping to set up a new restaurant, when a brilliant idea whacked me upside the head: Bottomless drinks and topless waiters. At the mall. True, this would not be fair to the guys, but I’m sure they’ll think of something.

Mike reports that Roger Federer lost to David Nalbandian at the Madrid Masters—I haven’t been following the news, I tend to tune out when the slams are over. The Fed is vulnerable to clay court grinders who speak Spanish: Nalbandian, Cañas, Nadal. There are super-slow motion videos of The Fed on Youtube hitting mostly forehands. You see how so much stuff happens in a second, there’s simply no time for conscious planning. As the strings make contact with the ball—or is it right after?—he twists his wrist. Which imparts the ball with extra zing, and may also account for tendency to shank the ball.

Do you play tennis? Mike’s looking for opponents. He just realized that his trainer has been letting him win, what a bummer. First we’ll have the Spinstermike Vs Spookbob match, then we’ll schedule your matches. Hey, let’s have a tournament! You don’t have to be particularly good, but you will have to endure cruel and relentless heckling from the spectators. Players who burst into tears, have tantrums, or get pikon automatically lose the point; however, bonus points will be awarded for creative insults and curses.

Update: Sign up for the First Annual Z Cup! Winner gets. . .absolutely nothing! Well maybe a stuffed toy Zebra and all the chicken she or he can eat at JT’s Manukan. I will present the trophy as patron and more importantly, as someone three degrees of separation from Roger Federer. How it happened: I used to hang out with Ettore, who used to get beaten at tennis by Diana, who is Roger’s sister. Ha, my cheap thrills.

Shatterday

October 21, 2007 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Music, Pointless Anecdotes 4 Comments →

Went to Cine Europa at Shangri-La last night to catch the two French movies. I’d gone early, expecting a crowd, but there were fewer people than usual—I think the recent event has made people a little leery of malls, or maybe they were all crammed into Megamall for the weekend sale.

You know how many people mentioned the bombing to me today? One. Everyone else went, “That was awful” and changed the topic, cause what the hell are we supposed to do. No one claims responsibility for the blast, so we just assume the usual suspects. There’s a bit from Casablanca that sums up the state of things around here (Hmm that’s two references to that movie in three days). Police captain Louis (Claude Rains) orders Rick’s closed, ostensibly for gambling. “I’m shocked, SHOCKED that there’s gambling on the premises,” he declares, then the croupier hands him a stack of cash and says, “Your winnings, sir.”

I’ve seen The Umbrellas of Cherbourg on DVD, and I wanted to view it on the big screen with the lush colors and the big, swoony Michel Legrand music. Turns out they’re projecting from the DVD at the festival, but if you haven’t seen Jacques Demy’s musical, catch it anyway. Umbrellas addresses the basic absurdity of the movie musical—people bursting into song—by having the actors sing all their lines. So Catherine Deneuve and her mom are arguing in song, and the postman interrupts with the mail, and he sings as he hands it over. The mom sums up the movie thus: People only die of love in the movies. In other words, You may feel like love will kill you, but most likely you will go on living.

Next I saw La Mome, the Edith Piaf biopic (US title: La vie en rose) starring Marion Cotillard, who’s brilliant and will likely be Oscar-nominated. I sat with Ronald, Raymond, and the Lav Diaz, who recently won a prize at the Venice festival. Piaf: What a life, pink is the last color I would associate with it. I realized that Piaf’s songs must be played very loud in order to get their full visceral impact. She is not a crooner or a whisperer; she’s in your face, you can smell the wine on her breath.

Afterwards we got to talking about how Piaf’s life was so Extreme Nora Aunor, and how singing icons like Piaf, Judy Garland, and Nora Aunor have histories that rival the most outrageous movie melodramas. Apparently you have to plumb the emotional depths, get battered by life and endure the kind of shit that would kill a lesser mortal. You don’t just sing the pain, YOU HAVE TO BE THE SONG. Hmm, a Nora Aunor biopic produced by Ronald Arguelles, written by Raymond Lee, directed by Lav Diaz—there’s a 15-hour movie.

Then Raymond, Ronald and I ran into Eric Ramos, who’s setting up the local edition of Playboy, and I offered to write for him. That’s when we established definitively that if you’re thinking of potential Playboy covers, don’t ask two gay guys and a girl for suggestions. I don’t think a Temptation Island (Jennifer Cortes! Bambi Arambulo!) 30th anniversary reunion would work in a men’s magazine, although we had some spectacular ideas for Playgirl.

At midnight Raymond and I headed to Martinis Bar and gatecrashed Martin’s birthday party. Alright, I was invited, but gatecrashing sounds more fun. I learned that it’s best to show up late, when everyone is already hilariously drunk. I have to check with legal before I blog the party, but Manny, you gave us a blank cheque, don’t think we’re not going cash it as soon as we figure out how many zeroes.

The what?

October 19, 2007 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events No Comments →

From Popbitch: Thriller from Manila—What definitely didn’t happen to Maddie

“One of the least likely explanations for the disappearance of Madeline McCann was that she had been kidnapped by the People’s Liberation Army of Manila. Yet that is what the group claimed to Portuguese police, for the publicity. It didn’t quite have the effect they were expecting. Just a visit from local police and arrests for making false claims. Expect to see them wearing orange jumpsuits and dancing to Thriller sometime soon. FYI: We’re told the next Filipino inmates dance video will be released on Youtube around 25th October.”

Is the People’s Liberation Army of Manila the same as the Manila People’s Liberation Army or a splinter group of the Army of Liberation of the People of Manila or are they all factions of Manila’s Liberation Army of the People? Suddenly I want to watch Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

Timeline

October 19, 2007 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events 7 Comments →

I wasn’t at Glorietta, thank you for asking. I was thinking of going there for lunch, but I was wearing these girly shoes I’d forgotten I owned because I’m always schlepping around in sneakers and you know how it is when you put on shoes you haven’t worn in ages, they hurt, so I didn’t feel like walking. Then I couldn’t drag anyone to lunch, and I thought everyone was at a shoot, so I went to the Coffee Bean in Salcedo Village and at 1248 Ricky called me from the gym in Glorietta to ask about lunch. So we ended up at Paseo Center, and Grace called at about 1330 to say a bomb had gone off in Glorietta. Then Lee texted at 1339 with news of the blast and I forwarded it to various people. It turns out Bob was at Glorietta when it happened but was evacuated, which is just as well because a blast at a mall is bad enough for our image but an American casualty would be catastrophic. At 1406 I got the gas leak theory, and from 1418 I’ve been getting apocalyptic news and conspiracy theories. So I was saved by purple snakeskin mules. I hope you’re safe wherever you are. (Yes I do know the problems of one blogger don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.)

It’s 1914, I’m watching the news on Channel 7, and police still don’t know what caused the blast. They’re ruling out a gas leak, and they’re saying it may have been a bomb. Really? Ya think? So 8 people are dead, more than 80 injured, and we’re not quite sure what happened, but police officials are telling the stores in Glorietta to stay open and the public to go on shopping. May I just say, WHAT? As if anything could keep Pinoys from going to the mall. On second thought that pretty much sums up Pinoy political life: Let’s pretend nothing happened!

Sizist road rules

October 18, 2007 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events 5 Comments →

From the BBC: An Australian ad campaign aiming to reduce road deaths by questioning the manhood of speeding drivers has proved a great success, a survey suggests. The TV ads show women shaking their little finger – a gesture used to symbolise a small penis – as speeding male motorists race past. In a government-commissioned survey, about 60% of young men said the ad had made them ponder their driving habits.

What an excellent idea! I think it would really work in Manila, where I suspect penis size is also inversely proportional to the size of one’s SUV, i.e. The more humongous the gas-guzzling space-hogging environment-raping machine, the teenier the wiener. In fact loud and ostentatious public displays of manhood are often forms of compensatory behavior. True, this may be an unfair generalization, so we should get a grant to look into this in a more objective, um, scientific manner.

So maybe the MMDA could put up signs saying, “Bakit ka nagmamadali, maliit ka ba?” After all they put up those signs that said, “Driver, nakasapatos ka ba?” (Are you wearing shoes?) to encourage cabbies to dress properly, although it sounded like they were having phone sex with motorists (What are you wearing?). Seriously, sizist signs would really deter speeding, although with the traffic, speeding only happens late at night or on the expressways. For maximum effectivity—to really reach the target audience—the signs should feature a hot actress or Piolo Pascual.