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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for September, 2012

Eating and singing while driving

September 26, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: In Traffic 6 Comments →

After an extremely stressful weekend (Our cat Saffy was at the vet to have some teeth extracted; she’s fine, we’re exhausted) we decompressed by visiting Uniqlo in MOA. There’s no therapy like thin Merino wool sweaters at Php990. Feeling pleased with ourselves, we lugged our purchases to the taxi queue and jumped in the first cab.

The driver was courteous and genial—he outlined the route he intended to take, for our approval. As we drove out of MOA that Korean song came on the radio and he noted the popularity of dancing Gangnam-style.


Typical weeknight on Edsa

At the traffic light we noticed that the driver was eating. Not popping snacks in his mouth, but eating a meal with a spoon and fork. Ordinarily we’d worry about the driver taking his mind off the road but traffic was moving slowly and he seemed alert enough. Then that song by No Doubt started playing on the radio and he started singing along.

To recap: Our driver was driving, eating, and singing at the same time. As we had been de-stressed by shopping we didn’t mind at all. If you recall that song from the 90s it goes, “Don’t speak…dadadada…Don’t tell me cause it hurts.”

Cheerfully the driver sang, “Don’t speak…dadadada…Don’t tell me cause it’s hurt.” Suddenly we remembered an entry in our collection of eccentric old lady stories.

Some years ago, our friend and his sisters were spending the weekend with their aunt at her farm. His sisters wanted to get pedicures. “Tita,” they asked their aunt, “May nagma-manicure ho ba dito?”

“Ah oo,” said Tita, “si Cely. Andiyan siya…andiyan. Sa phonebooks ko.”

The girls looked in the notebook next to the telephone. They looked under “C” for “Cely”. Nothing. They looked under “M” for “manicure”. Nothing.

“Tita, wala ho dito,” they reported.

“Andiyan yan,” their Tita insisted. “Hanapin ninyo diyan sa phonesbook.”

They looked under “P” for “pedicure” and “parlor”. No such listings. They tried “S” for “salon”. Nothing. “B” for “beauty parlor”. Wala talaga.

“Sigurado akong nariyan sa ponebooks,” said Tita, who was instructing the maids to prepare lunch. “Ilabas niyo na yung srim (shrimps).”

After going through all the possible listings they found Cely’s number at last. She was listed under “K” for “kuko” (nails).

20,000 miles in a snap

September 25, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Traveling No Comments →


Denpasar Airport, Bali. Photo by voyager on panoramio.

A few months ago we were invited to appear at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia in October. We said yes. We haven’t been to a literary festival in ages and worried that the presence of so many literary types in the same space would make us combust.

So we wangled an invitation to the Palanca Awards night, where we did not burst into flame. (We stopped joining the Palanca Awards in the late 90s—quit while you’re ahead, before the judges realize their mistake.) However we noticed halfway through the dinner at the Pen that there was a tag sticking out of our dress at knee level. Only then did we realize that our dress was inside out. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere. The moral of the story is, black knit (bamboo rayon is excellent) dresses are brilliant if you dress without consulting a mirror. Of course, we spent the rest of the evening accosting random people and saying, “This dress is inside-out!” Never waste a conversation piece.)
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The physics of hair

September 25, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Science 2 Comments →


Maria Sharapova’s ponytail. Photo by JZ

BBC News – A UK/US team that came up with an equation to predict the shape of a ponytail has earned itself an Ig Nobel.

Patrick Warren, Raymond Goldstein, Robin Ball and Joe Keller picked up their prestigious award at a sellout gala ceremony at Harvard University.
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Let them eat tiramisu. Our podcast episode 6 is online.

September 24, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Food, Podcast 13 Comments →

Torta Limone (It's a Lacroix!)
Torta Limone by Carlo Estagle. Who needs a bouquet? Walk down the aisle carrying this.

Our guest Carlo the pastry chef loves cake, but more than that he loves looooove. Why don’t you love him? Why? Why?

(Carlo has approved this message.)

Episode 6 of the weekly podcast is here. Listen, download, subscribe on iTunes.

Grand Cru Truffle Torte (Death and Resurrection and Death Again by Chocolate)
Grand Cru Truffle Torte by Carlo Estagle, a.k.a. Death, Resurrection and Death Again by Chocolate

* * * * *

The winner of last week’s podcast quiz is alex. Congratulations!

Update: Alex, you or your rep can pick up your prize at the Customer Service counter of National Bookstore at Power Plant, Rockwell, Makati.

The prize for this week’s podcast quiz is this stack of books:


A well-known French novel that was made into a movie, a guide to etiquette by the great-grandson of Emily Post, and the blockbuster erotic fiction trilogy. Because sex and cake go together. Yes we sneer at those books, but don’t you want to see what you’re sneering at? Afterwards, since it’s been called “mommy porn”, we dare you to give the set to your mom.

Just one question, essay-type: In Carlo’s world, what is the connection between pastry and love?

Optional bonus questions for readers who want to increase their chance of winning: Do you think you and Carlo would be happy together? For how long?

Thanks to National Bookstore for the books. Post your answers in Comments.

The Compassionate Cat Catchers of Bel-Air Makati

September 23, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Places 3 Comments →

In Emotional Weather Report, our column in the Philippine Star, 22 Sept 2012

On Monday afternoons Bel-Air Village homeowner Tracy Tuason boards a van from CARA and goes around the neighborhood catching cats. CARA—Compassion and Responsibility for Animals—is a non-government, non-profit, volunteer-run organization which advocates animal welfare. Bel-Air in Makati, like most neighborhoods, has a population of stray cats. Acting on reports called in by the residents, Tracy and the staff from CARA round up stray cats and bring them to the “cat condominium” behind the Barangay Hall.


The cat condominium at the Bel-Air Barangay office, where cats are sent to recover after they are spayed or neutered. Photos by JZ

The following day the cats are taken to the CARA clinic in Singalong, where volunteer veterinarian Dr. Riza Zunio attends to them. The female cats are spayed (their ovaries are removed, as in a hysterectomy) and the males neutered (castrated) so they will no longer produce kittens. In theory, a pair of cats can produce up to16 kittens in one year, 128 in two years, and 67,000 in six years—a population explosion. Spaying and neutering not only keeps the feline population in check, but it makes the cats less prone to disease. It lowers the risk of breast cancer in females, especially if they are spayed early enough, and prevents severe uterine infection. It also reduces the danger of testicular and prostate problems in males.


This cutie will be spayed or neutered when he (she?) is a little older.
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Apocalypse and architecture

September 21, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Books No Comments →


Judge Dredd: Crusade and Frankenstein Division by Morrison-Millar-Esquerra-Austin, Php794 at National Bookstores.

A Mega-City One Judge who vanished on a space mission 15 years earlier suddenly sends a transmission to base: he has spoken to God. Then his ship crashes in the Antarctic. All the Mega-Cities dispatch their best Judges to the crash site to recover whatever he found in space. Naturally they’ll have to fight for the thing, and only one Judge will survive. Will it be Dredd, or that nasty Inquisitor Cesare from the Vatican? Bloody mayhem ensues, but we didn’t have to point that out.


Batman: Death by Design by Chip Kidd and Dave Taylor, hardcover Php1015 at National Bookstores.

Imagine a Batman movie from the 1930s or 40s, black and white, starring Gary Cooper as Bruce Wayne and Grace Kelly as a socialite campaigning to preserve important buildings. Throw in an intrepid reporter, an embittered genius, a self-promoting artist-celebrity (Kem Roomhaus hehe), a corrupt union boss, a certain mass-murdering psychotic, and an ambitious architectural project. Enjoy.