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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for the ‘Traveling’

The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls

November 21, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Music, Places, Traveling 1 Comment →

capt-america
A New Yorker who stood up against bullies.

wall1
The people of New York standing up against bullies. The Post-It Project.

wall2
Overheard in the 14th St station: “You wanna stop and write your feelings? Hey !@#$%^ tell the world how you feel!”

wall3
On the platform a woman was singing “Hallelujah” in a way that honored Leonard Cohen while wiping the floor with his version. (In the immediate aftermath of the US presidential election Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell, and Sharon Jones have died.)

Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Lunch.

November 18, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Places, Traveling No Comments →

peterpan
We were too early for lunch so we had a coffee at Peter Pan Donuts first. Naturally I had a doughnut appetizer.

peterpan1
Peter Pan is a Brooklyn institution. Tina Fey has declared that so great is her passion for Peter Pan doughnuts, if she had a penis she would violate them.

fish
Greenpoint Fish and Lobster sells excellent fish tacos and sandwiches.

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Greenpoint is the sort of neighborhood where everyone knows everyone. Polish is widely spoken. The HBO show Girls is shot here.

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mos
Next door to the fish restaurant is another doughnut place, Mo’s. The owner used to work at Peter Pan. There was a big kerfuffle.

sign
A coffee shop offers advice on how to deal with living in a Chinese curse.

Chelsea, Manhattan, Lunch.

November 16, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Music, Places, Traveling 8 Comments →

facade
The Chelsea Hotel is still under renovation.

cohen

wolfe

byrne
When David Byrne wrote Here Lies Love, the disco musical about Imelda Marcos, the strongman’s widow was a figure of the recent past haunting the present. And now they’re baaaaack and may very well be the future. New songs will be written, but what can be done about willful amnesia and delusional nostalgia?

(Yes that is David Byrne. Please couch envious comments in song lyrics. You start a conversation, you can’t even finish it. You’re talking a lot, but you’re not saying anything.)

Central Park, Manhattan, Fall.

November 15, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Places, Traveling No Comments →

duckpond1
Every time I visit I have to go to the duck pond at Central Park, to acknowledge a debt to this book.

“Okay,” I said. Then I thought of something, all of a sudden. “Hey, listen,” I said. “You know those ducks in that lagoon right near Central Park South? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over? Do you happen to know, by any chance?” I realized it was only one chance in a million.

He turned around and looked at me like I was a madman. “What’re ya tryna do, bud?” he said. “Kid me?”

“No—I was just interested, that’s all.”

He didn’t say anything more, so I didn’t either. Until we came out of the park at Ninetieth Street. Then he said, “All right, buddy. Where to?”

dusk
It gets dark at 4pm.

rally
On the way to Columbus Circle I ran into a protest rally. If the Sixties are back, will rock be back, too?

sign
Humor as a survival mechanism.

Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Fall.

November 12, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Places, Traveling No Comments →

Matches the current mood: somber, melancholy, the heightened sense that all this beauty will pass.

moving
On the way to the park.

colors
This is what is meant by fall colors.

park
We need more open green spaces at home.

kids
For every concrete monstrosity, make the mall developers build parks. But who will alienate the money?

japanese
Parks are “non-revenue areas” and we are warned that vagrants, junkies, criminals will take them over. So only the rich can afford parks. Instead of breathing and walking among the trees, we go shopping for things we don’t really need, incur debts, drown ourselves in stuff.

richard-meier
A Richard Meier building

City of Cats

August 29, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Places, Traveling 2 Comments →

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Cat in Holland Village

Noel wanted to go someplace fabulous and bleeding with local color, but I really am the most boring guest. I wanted to go to temple immediately, i.e. Kinokuniya. To my credit, I was in and out in just over an hour. I found:

Books

– Sweet Caress, which is not a romance novel, and Armadillo by William Boyd, who creates characters I would like to meet. Any Human Heart is one of my favorite books. If you are glum and in despair over how you’ve spent your life, I recommend it highly.

– The Mark and the Void, a comedy about banking by Paul Murray, who wrote Skippy Dies.

– Public Library, short stories about libraries by Ali Smith, who is wonderful. I have two copies of How To Be Both and cannot bring myself to part with one.

– Suspended Sentences, three novels by Patrick Modiano. The French are allowed to publish very short novels. Reading Modiano teleports me to Paris, where one is happy being melancholy.

books actually
The resident cats at Books Actually have pins, postcards, and other merchandise, which gives me an idea.

On the weekend I went to chapel, a shop in Tiong Bahru called Books Actually, which last time I was there was patrolled by a large cat. There are three cats now, they know they are crowd-drawers, and they barely deign to be patted.

bks actually 2
The friendlier of the cats at Books Actually

In the day Noel went to the office while I wrote. At night we went out to dinner. In two days I finished my second draft, leaving the weekend free. If you have to write fast, I recommend getting out of Manila for a bit. Not entirely, because what would we have to write about?

terrace
Cat at Moh Guan Terrace in Tiong Bahru

I had told Noel that I wasn’t interested in seeing the sights, which of course did not stop him from producing lists of things to do and restaurants to try. It is hotter in Singapore than it is back home, but it is clean and orderly so at no time do you feel like you’ve been spritzed with eau de Pasig River. Also there are plenty of well-fed, glossy cats on the streets and in the shops. Could I live here? Probably not, but it makes a great contrast. We all need a little antiseptic sometimes.

cat socrates
Zoozoo, the real owner of Cat Socrates on Joo Chiat.

cat socrates