Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for December, 2009

The Noughties in chart form

December 29, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: History No Comments →

by Phillip Niemeyer in NYT.

2000-2009 by Phillip Niemeyer

I loathe you, just die.

December 28, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Drink, Movies 10 Comments →

Having endured many years of the Metro Manila Film Festival, it occurred to me that our viewing might be improved by drink. It certainly wouldn’t hurt: everything makes more sense with enough alcohol sloshing around your system.

Yesterday Jay suggested that we have wine and cheese at Cav on Bonifacio High Street. Afterwards, if we were still up to it, we could catch a mmff movie. Also we hoped that if we were sufficiently sloshed at least one of the movies would seem interesting enough to watch.


Cav offers a tasting menu—three kinds of red (they also have white) for P590. Our favorite was the Claymore, Graceland 04—I like a wine that refers to land mines and Elvis. We enjoyed the wine so much we decided to skip the movie altogether.

Today I made my second attempt to see a mmff movie. Vivien and I were at the mall, deciding which movie to watch, when who should walk by but Derek Ramsay. We decided to interpret this as a sign from the cosmos that we should catch his movie, I Love You, Goodbye. Later we realized that Derek walking by is not sign from the cosmos, unless he is naked. That should teach us a lesson.

I figured that we were safe since the movie is directed by Laurice Guillen. Surely if she saw that the screenplay did not make sense she would say, “I’m not shooting this.” Well the screenplay sucks so hard it swallows itself. I have not seen Nobody, Nobody But Juan, but I can tell you that it’s better than I Love You, Goodbye. Wapakman is probably more coherent than I Love You Goodbye, and I hear they didn’t have time to erase all the wires from the flying scenes.

I Love You, Goodbye is one of those torpid, needlessly glum movies where nothing happens for the first 100 minutes, then in the last 15 there is a series of absurd revelations that strain all credulity. It is as if the head of production (or since this is a Star Cinema product, a creative committee) reviewed the footage and said, “Nothing’s happening, just end it now.”

Gabby Concepcion whom I hesitate to call “well-preserved” because it evokes jars of formalin is a heart surgeon who is living with a former waitress played by Angelica Panganiban. Gabby is getting an annulment from his brilliant, accomplished wife played by Angel Aquino, to the disapproval of his dragon mother played by Liza Lorena with eyes popping out of her head. Gabby’s daughter Kim Chiu hates hates haaates Angelica for no reason at all and makes snide remarks that are supposed to be bitchy but just sound stupid. Then Derek Ramsay as Angelica’s boyfriend who abandoned her two years ago returns and wants her back, and since she won’t talk to him he befriends her would-be stepdaughter. Who immediately topples over, because look at that.

Jay says Derek isn’t Filipino at all, but British-Mexican, but Vivien says British plus Mexican equals Filipino because the British colonized America which colonized the Philippines and Mexico was colonized by Spain which colonized the Philippines so he’s Pinoy. Oh and I have to point out the one redeeming quality of I Love You, Goodbye: all the leads are very good-looking. Kim Chiu is so pretty you can almost ignore the voice assaulting your ears like a cheese grater.

Going back to the plot, Kim falls for Derek so I’m thinking, Ooh conflict, something Imitation of Life-ish or at least some girlfights like in All About Eve or Temptation Island. Naah, the screenplay is too chicken to put one of ABS-CBN’s wholesome young stars in that kind of situation. Ten minutes to the ending I thought the movie was going to take a twist to Unfaithful in which Richard Gere kills Olivier Martinez for boinking Diane Lane, but the script is too chicken for that, too. Instead we get an incredible resolution best summed up as, “Patayin na lang natin yung problema para matapos na” (Let’s kill the problem so we can go home).

There, I’ve spoiled it all so you can spare yourself. The best line in I Love You, Goodbye, uttered by Gabby Concepcion to Arlene Muhlach: “How’s your ensaymada business?” By the way, this is one of those flicks where every sex scene is accompanied by blaring saxophone music. Yuuccch. Better to eat cheese than to watch it.


The case of the exploding underwear

December 28, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Traveling No Comments →

Beijing International Airport, from The Most Beautiful Terminals in the World.

After the shoe bomber was discovered, we had to take off our shoes for the airport security check.

On Friday a man was foiled in the attempt to blow up a plane using chemicals and a syringe sewn into his underwear.

What kind of airport security check are we in for?

Bilbao Airport by Santiago Calatrava

The Art of the Ditch, The James Salter on Captain Chesley Sullenberger and the miracle on the Hudson, in NYRB.

Readers’ Bloc 2009, omnivore edition

December 28, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Books 4 Comments →


Reader: Jay Lozada, visual artist, production designer, hair and make-up artist

1. Mondomanila by Norman Wilwayco. Masalimuot ang daigdig ng mga tauhan sa Mondomanila. May sex, drugs, violence, atbp. The narrative is non-linear and the characters are drifting in and out like rumors you hear from neighbors, taxi drivers, the radio, and TV gossip shows.

2. Extraordinary Knowing: Science, Skepticism, and the Inexplicable Powers of the Human Mind by Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer.

3. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki.

4. The Book of Destiny by Carlos Barrios. Another way of interpreting destiny using the Mayan Calendar.

5. What Not To Say: Philosophy for life’s tricky moments by Mark Vernon.

6. Cashflow Quadrant: Rich Dad’s Guide to Financial Freedom

7. The Power of Now: A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

8. Intellectuals by Paul Johnson. The author examines whether intellectuals are morally fit to give advice to humanity.

9. Iron Potassium Nickel by Primo Levi. Three stories taken from Primo Levi’s great work, The Periodic Table, describing his experience as a chemist in wartime Turin.

10. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley. Interesting book on America’s millionaire. They don’t look and act like millionaires!

* * * * *

Daibasu and Root, your prizes are waiting for you at Wild Ginger in the basement of Power Plant, Rockwell. Just give your names to the staff and tell them you’re claiming your prizes. If someone else is picking up your book/s, just have him or her give your name and alias.

Dating your TV

December 27, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Re-lay-shun-ships, Television No Comments →

From 2002, Lee Siegel’s essay on Sex and the City: Relationshipism, in The New Republic.

This is what Saffy thinks

With Sex and the City, the folks at HBO have created just this kind of cold and remote object of desire; a commodity eternally alluring, like the show’s conception of Manhattan itself. “I’m dating the city,” reveals Carrie, with typical wide-eyed cynicism, in a recent episode in which, after (yet again) having been humiliated in the rain by a stranger she tried to pick up, she seems resigned to the fact that she is chronically single. But Carrie is played by an actress in a television series called Sex and the City who transparently is playing an actress acting the part of Carrie, who writes a column called “Sex and the City,” which in the course of the series becomes a movie called Sex and the City, which is about a columnist named Carrie who writes a column called “Sex and the City,” which becomes a movie, and on and on.

“In other words, Carrie is really dating the idea of New York purveyed by Sex and the City; she is really dating her television. And it is beyond significant that this relationship–between a person and an appliance that projects the illusion of other people without exacting from the ego a price for being with other people–seems to be the only relationship in which this wildly popular series’ creators, who have fashioned the show in their own image, actually believe.”

Dear Cursive,

December 27, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Projects 3 Comments →


Everyone says cursive is doomed. Really? I use it all the time, especially when I want a piece of writing to meander and develop at its own pace instead of rushing to the conclusion. I love sending and receiving handwritten letters: they literally contain their author. You can tell a lot about the author from the way he crosses his t’s and dots his i’s (or draws a heart over them, in which case I stop reading).

I believe that there are messages that can only be conveyed in handwriting. For this and other reasons cursive will not die out entirely but become the province of a few—much like books printed on paper.

It is true that good stationery is now harder to find in Manila. There used to be a couple of shops selling Crane’s paper but they’ve closed. A few weeks ago I spent hours scouring the mall for heavy notepaper (the size you fold once and place in the matching envelope) and finally found a few forlorn (say that fast) boxes in a corner of Fully Booked. This is not right. There’s nothing like a letter dripping with vitriol that can also slice its recipient’s fingers open.


I took this up with Eman Pineda at Adora (at Greenbelt 5), which is exactly the kind of store that should have stationery and writing supplies. He assures me that starting next year, Adora will carry fine stationery. I will alert you when the papers arrive.

Florence and Venice seem to be the capitals of stationery and journals, although the paper sold in Venice often turns out to be from Florence. Pineider, stationers to Napoleon Bonaparte, still has a shop in Florence on the Piazza della Signoria. I made sure to buy something from the store patronized by Byron, Shelley, and Stendhal


even if it was just a sheaf of bookmarks.

Mat is handsome.
No particular connection to post, just showing off handsome cat.