Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for June, 2017

Writing basics: Always carry a notebook.

June 29, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Notebooks, Workshops No Comments →

David Sedaris does.

This advice has worked for us for many years, so at our Writing Boot Camp in July, we’re issuing these pocket notebooks to participants.

Paper cover pocket Moleskine journals I futzed with.

The objective is simple: to start and finish a piece of writing (a short story, a personal essay, or a piece of fanfiction) in two weekends.

Dates: July 22 and 29, 2017, from 1-5pm.
Venue: WSI Corporate Center, Metropolitan Avenue, Makati (near the Makati fire station at the end of Ayala Avenue)
Cost: Php6,000, but if you pay on or before June 30, 2017, you only pay Php5,000.

For inquiries and to book a place, email

A real-life monster tale: The Beast of Gevaudan

June 28, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, History No Comments →

The beast was known for killing mostly women and children, who would’ve been easier targets. (Musée Fantastique de la Bête du Gévaudan)

The monster’s first victim was Jeanne Boulet, a 14-year-old girl watching her sheep. Her death was followed by others, almost exclusively women and children. Throughout 1764, the brutal attacks—victims with their throats torn out or heads gnawed off—riveted France. The violence was so shocking, news of it traveled from the countryside all the way to the royal palace in Versailles. What was this beast of Gévaudan, and who could stop its reign of terror?

It sounded like a fairy tale monster, but no one imagined marrying it.

Read When the Beast of Gevaudan Terrorized France.

Remember The Brotherhood of the Wolf with Mark Dacascos as the Native American companion of the knight sent to capture the beast?

Now I have to read some Angela Carter.

My father lost me to The Beast at cards.

Read The Tiger’s Bride.

A list of movie and TV heroines who kicked ass in the dark ages before Wonder Woman

June 25, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 28 Comments →

Action Women Movie Montage from ClaraDarko on Vimeo.

Lali sent me this.

Okay, lots of people haven’t seen Aliens, Buffy or Xena. Maybe they’re too young to have seen them and they didn’t grow up in pop culture-mad households. But surely they’ve seen Marvel movies, and Black Widow isn’t exactly bupkiss, even if they haven’t seen fit to give her a much-deserved solo movie. And duh, Hunger Games? I hope they also saw Mad Max: Fury Road, which infuriated many male viewers by relegating Max to second lead/tripod and having Imperator Furiosa, an armless female in a buzzcut, as the hero. (Also, some of us can recite large chunks of Casablanca and we weren’t alive in WWII, so youth is not an argument.)

Here then is a list, in no particular order, of ass-kicking movie and TV heroines from the ancient times before Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman appeared on the big screen.

How to get your children to read

June 24, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Psychology No Comments →

Read How to Raise a Reader.

This tip worked in my case. My mother used to read fairy tales to me. Then I would repeat them to my stuffed animals. Eventually I got tired of telling the same stories so I looked at the books myself.

Sensible breakfasts for people with zero cooking skills (who are rushing somewhere)

June 22, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Food 3 Comments →

I can boil water, nuke things in the microwave, and operate complicated espresso machines. That is the full range of my kitchen skills, unless you count calling food delivery services and being called “Sir” by the operators. Since I do not cook, the two basic food groups in my house are coffee and oatmeal. I consider myself an oatmeal expert because I can handle both the quick-cooking and instant (just add milk or water) varieties.

Proof that no one can drive safely while texting

June 22, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Science, Technology No Comments →

So there you are, driving to school or work or whatever when your phone buzzes. “I’ll just look at my phone for one second,” you think. “It will only be a second and I should be fine—right?” Wrong.

Let’s say you are traveling at some speed v and you take just one second to glance at your phone. That is one second that you are not looking at the road. What happens during that one second? First, let me define average velocity (in one dimension—I add that because I hate being technically wrong).

In this definition, ?x represents the change in position and ?t represents the time interval. Please stop saying velocity is distance over time—that is only sometimes true. In this case, I know the time interval is one second. If I solve this equation for the change in position, I get: