Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Psychology’

The Dream of the Brown Dog (and how to remember your dreams)

September 11, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Psychology No Comments →

The Key to Dreams by Rene Magritte

I had this dream a few days ago. (I’d woken up at 8am and gone back to sleep.)

We were filming the travel show in Texas, right after Hurricane Harvey struck. The high-rise office building we were in was flooded up to the second floor. We did not mind the conditions, being used to typhoons and monsoons. I had a dog with me, a brown askal which ran off to play with the other dogs taking refuge in the upper floors. The dog did not respond when I called him, so I figured I’d pick him up when we finished filming.

On our way out I tried to get the dog, but a security guard barred me from looking for him. I started arguing with the guard. I told him I could not possibly leave my dog, and he said I had to leave the building. I was getting very upset.

You know that scene towards the end of The Usual Suspects, after the detective has let Verbal Kint go? The detective sits in his office drinking coffee and looking at the pictures tacked on the walls, and he suddenly realizes where Verbal got his stories. That’s what happened in my dream.

I was yelling at the guard when a series of thoughts popped into my head.

How did I transport my dog from Manila to Texas?

Didn’t my dog have to be quarantined?

What was the name of my dog?

Wait. I don’t have a dog.

Then I woke up.

Read How to Remember Your Dreams

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.

Is your pet lonely? Take this quiz.

June 14, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Psychology No Comments →

Drogon Targaryen-Targaryen explains the ways of the household to the new cat, Jacob Totoro Howlett.

Take the Lonely Pets Quiz.

Additional question:

When you’re at the computer:

– The cat sits on the keyboard, preventing you from typing.

– The cat immediately goes to her favorite websites.

– The cat ignores you to play with his imaginary friends.

Why Aren’t You Laughing? David Sedaris reckons with his mother’s alcoholism.

June 14, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Psychology No Comments →

Any week that we find two new David Sedaris essays is a good week. The funniest memoirs deal with old pain.

The author (rear) with his sister Lisa and their mother, Sharon Sedaris.

Sober, she was cheerful and charismatic, the kind of person who could—and would—talk to anyone. Unlike our father, who makes jokes no one understands and leaves his listeners baffled and anxious to get away, it was fun to hear what our mom might come out with. “I got them laughing” was a popular line in the stories she’d tell at the end of the day. The men who pumped her gas, the bank tellers, the receptionists at the dentist’s office. “I got them laughing.” Her specialty was the real-life story, perfected and condensed. These take work, and she’d go through half a dozen verbal drafts before getting one where she wanted it. In the course of the day, the line she wished she’d delivered in response to some question or comment—the zinger—would become the line she had delivered. “So I said to him, ‘Buddy, that’s why they invented the airplane.’ ”

Read Why aren’t you laughing? in the New Yorker.

Clear your head by cleaning your house

April 25, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Health, Psychology No Comments →

Migraine illustration by Dave Cutler

I spent all of Sunday in bed with a migraine, and on Monday my head still felt like an egg in danger of cracking, but I managed to go to the bank then to lunch, to buy the week’s supply of cat food, and to record my Trippies voice-overs despite bizarre misunderstandings with two Uber drivers, neither of them could find Glorietta 1—the mall where the airconditioning is as feeble as the dying exhalations of a consumptive mouse—and one of whom attempted to drive to Legaspi Village by way of Alabang. Some of the confusion was due to curious instructions from Waze, which would not have been an issue if the drivers were familiar with the Makati business district, and which were probably due to the faint, faint, disappearing internet connection on their phones. When I got home I tried to take a nap to preempt another headache, but I felt like my apartment was closing in on me like the garbage chute in Star Wars: A New Hope. I was suffocating in stuff. I needed space, air, blankness.

Deliberate resting: Doing more by working less

April 05, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Psychology, The Workplace 1 Comment →

When you examine the lives of history’s most creative figures, you are immediately confronted with a paradox: They organize their lives around their work, but not their days.

Figures as different as Charles Dickens, Henri Poincaré, and Ingmar Bergman, working in disparate fields in different times, all shared a passion for their work, a terrific ambition to succeed, and an almost superhuman capacity to focus. Yet when you look closely at their daily lives, they only spent a few hours a day doing what we would recognize as their most important work. The rest of the time, they were hiking mountains, taking naps, going on walks with friends, or just sitting and thinking. Their creativity and productivity, in other words, were not the result of endless hours of toil. Their towering creative achievements result from modest “working” hours.

How did they manage to be so accomplished? Can a generation raised to believe that 80-hour workweeks are necessary for success learn something from the lives of the people who laid the foundations of chaos theory and topology or wrote Great Expectations?

Read Darwin Was A Slacker And You Should Be, Too.

I like this strategy! I’m not slacking, I’m deliberately slacking.

These cats agree.