Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Cats’

It’s Koosi’s birthday. And Drogon’s! Today he is The Oracle.

April 12, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats 39 Comments →


Koosi would’ve been 15 years old today. We miss her everyday, though we still see her in the corner of our eye, jumping from shelf to table and flaying the spines of books in the process. She picked Drogon as her successor, and since we don’t know the exact date he was born, we hereby designate 12 April as his birthday. (Our vet did say that he was about 18 months old in September last year.) So our annual ritual of divination continues.

Photo by RickyV

Happy Birthday, Drogon!

You may ask The Oracle questions about your future. Post them in Comments. Drogon will answer your questions all weekend.

I am two! Send more questions!

The oracle locket with Koosi’s kitten pictures

Manila, look out the window at noon. This is Arrakis.

April 03, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Cats, Health 3 Comments →

You can actually see the heat shimmering.

We live in the tropics and are accustomed to high temperatures, but this summer is something else. One minute we’re wearing cardigans and dining outdoors, the next minute we’re sticking our heads in the freezer to make the hell imps stop drilling our brains.

If this isn’t climate change, then we must be living on Dune.

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s adaptation of Dune is one of the greatest What-could’ve-beens in film history. Orson Welles as the Baron Harkonnen! Salvador Dali as the Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV! Charlotte Rampling as Jessica, Gloria Swanson as the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam, Alain Delon as Duncan Idaho, and Mick Jagger as Feyd-Rautha, with H.R. Giger and Moebius doing design. The concept alone kills.

As a veteran survivor of heat-induced headaches, here are a few tips on how not to get microwaved this summer.

1. Stay indoors. Darkness is good.
2. Hydrate. Drink twice as much water as usual. (If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.)
3. Read books set someplace cold. In the fictional universe, Winter is coming. (Watching movies set in the poles is good, too.)

saffy vf got

4. Sleep. Cats know.
5. Limit movement.
6. In case of heatstroke, sweat.

Shelter for our books

April 01, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Cats 3 Comments →

Sure, we’d like our books to be housed in shelves made by the Roentgens,

but while we wait to amass our jillions, our books have to live somewhere. They can’t just be stacked on the floor—we do need space to walk on—or crammed into shelves in rows so we can’t see what’s in the back. Nearly a month ago we bought a fake wood (particleboard) shelf kit at S&R. We haven’t had time to assemble it.


Yesterday we noticed that the cats had shredded its cardboard box, and would soon be sharpening their claws on the shelf parts themselves. So we took the pieces out of the box and lined them up on the floor.


Behind the boards you can see the chaos that requires another bookshelf.


The instructions were mystifying so we ignored them and figured out the configuration through trial and error. We were assisted by Drogon, who poked his nose into everything. In the end we managed to assemble the shelf, but the parts didn’t fit perfectly. The shelf tilted to the right and wobbled. It did not look strong enough to carry a load of books. So we took it apart and asked one of the maintenance people to assemble it properly. There was hammering and some swearing involved.


Drogon inspected the finished shelf and gave it his seal of approval.


Order in the house. For now.

Conversations with cats: Saffy has a toothache

March 20, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats No Comments →


- Saffy, we’re home!
- Go away, I hatesss you.
- We missed you.
- I did not miss you at all.
- Look, we got you a present from Palawan.
- What is this?
- It’s a pearl necklace.
- These are not pearls.
- Well, they’re mother-of-pearl. (It’s actually a bracelet for humans. You can get three of them for Php100 from Badjao hawkers.)
- I thought so. Pearls do not usually come in plastic bags.


To ingratiate ourself with the cat, we offered her a can of Friskies Classic Paté. Saffy ate a few bites, then began to growl and inspect her teeth with her tongue, as if she were trying to dislodge something. She also batted at her cheeks with her paws.

Being familiar with Saffy’s moods, we knew that these growls were not of the “Get the hell away from my food dish” variety she uses on Mat and Drogon. Saffy had a toothache.

We consulted our vet Mayem Yao, who continues to treat Saffy even if this cranky cat requires three people to hold her down, and many members of the Pendragon Vet Clinic staff have received painful souvenirs from her claws. If your critters need vets, we recommend Pendragon highly. Text 0922-VETHELP.


Her toothache gone, Saffy ate half the can of Friskies paté. An hour later she climbed onto the table, sat on our keyboard and glared at us. This means “I want food.” Clearly she intended to make up for the meals she had not enjoyed while she had the toothache.

- This necklace is not bad.
- You can have all the necklaces (bracelets). They don’t fit Mat’s and Drogon’s necks.
- That is because they are fat.
- You are not skinny.
- Shut up and bring my Fancy Feast.

Reading year 2014: Our book-buying moratorium made us read faster

March 13, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Cats 2 Comments →

In January we admitted that our reading backlog had become absurd and declared a moratorium on book acquisitions until the number of unread books had been brought down to a manageable level. There’s nothing like being told that you can’t buy any more books till you’ve decreased your backlog to make you read faster. Book lust is a great motivator. One of our joys is complaining about how many books we still have to read, and how can we do that if the number isn’t growing?


Someday we might get through a Balzac novel without wanting to seek out the author and throttle him (It’s a good thing he’s dead). We had an easier time with The Human Comedy, a collection of his short stories—”short” is relative. These tales are voluptuously-written, fascinating and infuriating—often at the same time. Balzac will start a story with some juicy gossip about famous Parisian mistresses, and then veer off into a pompous disquisition on women that will have you nodding off half a page. When he isn’t being pompous, he’s riveting.

In The 400 Blows, Antoine Doinel adores Balzac and gets caught plagiarizing him so he runs away.

Weird to hear him in Spanish.

For a taste, read A Passion in the Desert, about a soldier who falls in love with a panther.


In Paris we wanted to read about Paris so we bought Paris Stories by Mavis Gallant. We couldn’t read it, we were not ready. There are books you have to read in childhood before your concentration is shot (Malory), and there are books that require a clearer perception of the varieties of human experience (Tolstoy). The news of Gallant’s death last month, at age 92, reminded us that we had this story collection. We started reading it and did not stop. This is in defiance of Gallant’s advice in the afterword to read one story, then shut the book and come back later. These stories are complex, graceful, and moving—they sneak up on you. You’re left feeling so much, and you wonder how she did it because she never calls attention to her technique. That would be tacky. Sometimes we don’t even know exactly how a story turns out, plot-wise, but we feel like we’ve been through something. Gallant is amazing.


The Goldfinch was our favorite book last year so we resolved to read Donna Tartt’s first novel, The Secret History. Reading The Secret History reminded us of watching Dead Poets Society, and not just because both are set in schools in New England. In both cases we were charmed and transfixed, but we also found them a little cringe-making. They’re rather precious and affected (Ang o-OA nila), they over-romanticize the academe and the nerd experience. The Secret History is about a group of very bright college students who fall under the spell of their adviser and professor of Greek. They’re so drunk on their syllabus that they end up committing murder—that’s not a spoiler, it’s right on the first page. Everyone is working so hard to be eccentric, and if you have to work at it, what you are is a hipster. Compelling read, though, shocking that it hasn’t been filmed.


If it weren’t by Nancy Mitford, The Blessing would be high-end chick-lit about an uncomplicated girl who marries a French aristocrat and moves to Paris, where she is shocked by the decadent lifestyle. Gasp, affairs left and right. However, since this is by the author of Love In A Cold Climate and The Pursuit of Love, it is wickedly funny, sophisticated, and understanding of human frailty. You know how Tagalog movies and telenovelas are obsessed with adultery and mistresses? Their writers should read Nancy Mitford so they can get over their little bourgeois hang-ups and actually enjoy life.


The way cats do. We borrowed this from our sister. It is the War and Peace of cat-centric comics.


If you’re in the mood for a wonderful love story but can’t commit to anything that takes longer than a day, this is your perfect nosh. Turn to a random page and find something that will split your vestigial heart in half.

Conversations with cats: Why do they love cardboard boxes?

March 11, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats No Comments →


Mat: Still no sign of land. How long is it?

Saffy: 33 days.

Mat: Thirty-three days?

Saffy: We can’t go on much longer. We haven’t eaten since the fifth day.

Mat: We’re done for! We’re done for!

Us: Kitties, get off the cardboard box, we have to assemble our shelf.

Mat: This is our life raft.

Saffy: We are stranded at sea, hoping someone will find us.

Mat: We are starving.

Us: Nobody believes you, piglets. Give us the box.

Saffy: No! You can’t take our raft.

Mat: We are poor shipwrecked sailors.

Us: You’ve been shredding that box. Better not scratch the shelf, or else.

Saffy: What shelf? This is our lifeboat.

Then they got tired of playing shipwreck and Saffy huddled with Drogon.