Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

The original vampire, the height of charm, and the emotional support animal con

October 17, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Cats, Clothing, Current Events

Links we like:

Lord Byron: Not just Byronic, vampiric

John Polidori was the personal physician to George Gordon, Lord Byron. Byron was often horrible to him. Polidori felt his famous client was sucking the life out of him, so he wrote The Vampyre in 1819 (Dracula by Bram Stoker was published in 1897). Read The Poet, The Physician, and The Birth of the Modern Vampire.

In Italy, people who wear glasses are called quattr’occhi (four eyes). Angelo Flaccavento finds glass-wearing individuals to be the height of elegance and charm. We don’t know how true that is, but we like to think so. Thanks to Lali for the link.


In America, people can take their pets everywhere by flashing a card claiming that they are “emotional support animals”. This is an insult to our cats, who regard us as their emotional support animal. Read the hilarious investigative report by Patricia Marx. In the photo above, she tests the emotional support card by taking an alpaca to the drugstore.

Fantastic food deals and free seminars at the first KAINdustriya convention

October 17, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Shopping, Sponsored


This was the scene at the first KAINdustriya convention organized by Puregold last October 14 and 15 at the World Trade Center.


Hotel and restaurant managers, caterers, operators of cafes, canteens, food stalls, karinderya and jolly jeeps found big discounts on food items and kitchen supplies.

Established in 2012, Puregold’s KAINdustriya is for all food resellers. It aims to offer the most affordable prices on basic commodities and ingredients as well as cooking equipment and appliances through the Tindahan ni Aling Puring program.


Tindahan ni Aling Puring is not just for sari-sari store and neighborhood tindahan owners, but for everyone in the food business.

In addition to the big convention, KAINdustriya has been organizing cook- offs, cooking demonstrations and free seminars for its members on topics ranging from safety and sanitation, inventory keeping, and menu planning to pricing and cost management. The idea is for members to increase their knowledge of the business and hone their skills so they can become competitive in the thriving Pinoy food industry.


For more information on Tindahan ni Aling Puring and updates on KAINdustriya events, go to and, or follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

The Bone Clocks now ticking in bookstores

October 16, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books

Hardcover, Php1199 at National Bookstores

David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks is finally in stores. There are limited copies, though, so if you want the hardcover, hurry.

As we predicted, The Bone Clocks didn’t make the Booker longlist. The Booker Prize went to Australian author Richard Flanagan for The Narrow Road to the Deep North, a novel about the prisoners of war who were put to work constructing the Burma railway. (Yes, that railway in The Bridge on the River Kwai with Alec Guinness and the recent The Railway Man with Colin Firth.) Here’s an excerpt.

The title of Flanagan’s novel is borrowed from the 17th century Japanese poet Basho’s most famous work, a travelogue in haiku. The opening lines from Basho:

Days and months are travellers of eternity. So are the years that pass by. Those who steer a boat across the sea, or drive a horse over the earth till they succumb to the weight of years, spend every minute of their lives travelling. There are a great number of ancients, too, who died on the road. I myself have been tempted for a long time by the cloud-moving wind — filled with a strong desire to wander.

It was only towards the end of last autumn that I returned from rambling along the coast. I barely had time to sweep the cobwebs from my broken house on the River Sumida before the New Year, but no sooner had the spring mist begun to rise over the field than I wanted to be on the road again to cross the barrier-gate of Shirakawa in due time. The gods seem to have possessed my soul and turned it inside out, and roadside images seemed to invite me from every corner, so that it was impossible for me to stay idle at home. Even while I was getting ready, mending my torn trousers, tying a new strap to my hat, and applying moxa to my legs to strengthen them, I was already dreaming of the full moon rising over the islands of Matsushima. Finally, I sold my house, moving to the cottage of Sampû for a temporary stay. Upon the threshold of my old home, however, I wrote a linked verse of eight pieces and hung it on a wooden pillar. The starting piece was:

Behind this door
Now buried in deep grass,
A different generation will celebrate
The Festival of Dolls.

Translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa. Read 9 Translations of the Opening Paragraph.

Two of Mitchell’s novels are set in Japan, so there’s the connection.

“Purpose of travel”

October 15, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: In Traffic, Places, Traveling


Our real answers to the “Purpose of travel” item in the visa application form

1. Amok prevention. We love living here, but this city keeps pushing and pushing and pushing us and if we do not take a break we will snap. Take this morning. Please. In sane traffic, it would take us no more than ten minutes to get to the embassy for our appointment. This morning it took us an hour and a half, and the only reason the taxi driver agreed to drive us was because we bribed him. (Yeah there are taxi apps. Same principle: They’ll drive you if you’re willing to pay more. And the “kontrata” system is now legitimized as “tips”. In effect we are incentivizing asshole behavior, but people just want to get home safely and with the least aggravation.)

2. Sanity maintenance. We are very, very, very, very, very tired. We haven’t had a proper vacation in years. All our trips have been work assignments. In fact the last real vacation we had—”real” meaning we could do whatever we wanted and we didn’t have to say nice things about the trip sponsor or shut up when something went wrong—was eight years ago, in the same place.


3. Perspective. We love our country when we’re somewhere else and can think about it objectively.

4. The horror of sameness. We need to feel like an alien in an alien land. It makes us think better. Here we only feel like a freak. A bored, enervated freak.

5. The comfort of being in a place where people read books on the train—good books—and cafes give prizes to the best novels written on the premises.

What we wrote on the visa form


Confessions of a Bibliophibian

October 14, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books

This is where the word bibliophibian comes from.

We define bibliophibian as an organism that can live in the real world and in books but confuses the two.

* * * * *

Remember, it’s not them, it’s us.

1. We don’t love the novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Like everyone else, we read One Hundred Years of Solitude in college and admired it then, mostly because people kept telling us how great it was.

There is no photo because we don’t know where our copy is, or even if we still have it.

2. We’ve never finished a novel by Javier Marias, and not from lack of trying.

3. We’ve never finished Moby Dick, but we got halfway through by downloading the Big Read featuring Tilda Swinton, Benedict Cumberbatch and others reading the chapers.

4. We’ve never finished a book by Haruki Murakami, and not for lack of trying.

5. We like the stories of Vladimir Nabokov, but we read Lolita out of a sense of obligation.

6. We’ve never gotten past page 100 of In Search of Lost Time, but we still think we’ll get around to it.

Funny glasses, about Php70 each, from the Halloween costume section of National Bookstore.

Confess and be absolved!

The Janitor made us feel like throwing 500-peso bills at the screen.

October 13, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies


We had already seen The Janitor at Cinemalaya but we saw it again because it has the highest concentration of hot guys in any Filipino movie we’ve seen lately. As someone put it, it’s like the Cosmo Bachelor bash in movie form. We brought our friend, Karma K. Good thing the front rows were empty because we were so noisy, if we’d been other people we’d have yelled at us to shut up.

Directed by Michael Tuviera, The Janitor is a conspiracy thriller in which Dennis Trillo plays a suspended policeman tasked by his boss Richard Gomez, upon the orders of the police general Ricky Davao, to eliminate the suspects in a bank robbery that resulted in the deaths of ten people. The conspiracy doesn’t run very deep, but the movie is solidly-made, the action scenes well-executed, and the fight scenes look like real fights. Most importantly, Dennis is spectacular with a tan and more bulk.

– Ang ganda-ganda ni Dennis. Ilong lang niya ang hindi perfect, but it’s just right for his face. If everything were perfect, he would be too pretty.
– I saw him at the mall years ago, he’s not very tall.
– So what, he is correctly-proportioned.
– If the dvd contains an extra 30 minutes of him working out with no shirt, I’m pre-ordering the dvd.
– Masipag ang director na ito. So many cuts in each scene.
– I think he’s the son of the producer of Eat Bulaga. So the scene where police torture the lookout/tricycle driver (an excellent Nico Manalo) using a game show wheel is an hommage to Eat Bulaga.
– Who is that?
– Alex Medina, one of Pen Medina’s children.
– He’s very cute.
– But Pen is still the best-looking Medina.
– And the guy playing Alex’s brother is cute, too.
– Ynez Veneracion has the right katarayan for the role. The other female characters, though, are blah and stereotypical.
– That one wins the bad actress award.
– The action scene in the cornfield is good. Derivative, but well done. The director knows his Hong Kong action flicks.
– I know someone who watched this twice for Raymond Bagatsing.
– Richard Gomez has been in movies long enough to know how not to be wiped out in scenes with Dennis.
– Why is Derek Ramsay acting with his tongue? He keeps sticking it out, he might bite it off.
– Well his ex-wife’s trying.
– He hasn’t learned how to act, yet.
– Which leads to the question: If you look like that, do you have to act?
– (The prostitute says: “Hoy pokpok ako, dream come true sa amin ang maging kabit.”) Hahaha, nice line.
– Now Dennis is a real actor. You can read the emotions one by one as they flicker across his face.
– And he doesn’t contort his face.
– Which is lovely.
– Note the angles of his eyebrows.
– You don’t think that sweeping scene is obvious and inadvertently funny?
– Works for me.

The Janitor is now showing in cinemas. Rating: Recommended.