Archive for 2004

A package from Esther-Susan Niguidula Perez (Cha Cha)

I received a UPS package from an ex-girlfriend today. In it was several pictures of us, some items that I had accidentally left with her, and a new Walt Whitman poetry book. I tried getting in touch with her directly but the return address and phone number on the package were incorrect (it was her cousin Maryann’s address and phone number. The phone number works but they’ve never heard of Maryann or Cha) and her email address doesn’t work. I’m guessing that she reads my journal so I’ll respond here:

Thank you for returning the manuscript and walkie-talkie. Of the other items, what I cannot sell on eBay, I am discarding.

This passion you have for me is completely negated (and then some) by your continued deception of your cancer status.


The super-duper short version:

I dated a girl who told me she had terminal brain cancer. For 2 years I remained the skeptic while she went to great lengths to convince me of her illness. She was never really sick. I left her because of the lies.

The short version:

We were introduced to one another by the door-woman in the high-rise building we were both living in. Our first date was in October, 2000. At that date, she told me that she had terminal inoperable brain cancer and had 3 months to live. I decided to continue with the relationship in spite of the obvious emotional hurdles. It turned out that we got along fantastically well. For the next two years we carried on a terrific relationship. But I was bothered all along that I had been with her to see many doctors for various ailments and had never seen a doctor talk about her cancer. I asked Cha about this directly on several occasions and I always got unconvincing answers as to why this was the case. Finally in October 2002, I told her that if I didn’t receive a face-to-face confirmation of her medical condition from a reputable doctor, or an admission that she didn’t really have cancer, I would leave her. She offered up more excuses but no confirmation, so I left her. It was difficult… but the weirdness factor more than made up for the unhappiness.

I say that this is the short version because I have story after story of how I was strung along for 2 years. Each time I was given evidence that was -almost- convincing except for it’s forgability or unconfirmability. Things include:

  • A terminal diagnosis on Letterhead from a friend doctor of hers. The doctor (initials M.T.) has moved to Hawaii and has angrily refused to even talk to me on the phone about anything.
  • Cha told me that her medical records were confidential… private… locked up… unavailable… I’m not allowed to see the ones at hospital A because it was part of an underground experiment, I can’t see them at hospital B because a personal friend at the hospital took care of her off the books, hospital C has a very strict policy of not letting ANYONE see records. Hospital D…
  • I went with her to get a CAT scan. She told me that she had scheduled this because her doctor (one of her doctors that apparently didn’t know that she had terminal brain cancer) prescribed it. She received a CAT scan and they didn’t find anything wrong. She told me later, “Of course they didn’t detect anything, they did a normal scan. If they had done a “contrast” scan, they would have found it.” Wha?
  • A green pill that might have been an un-approved, experimental chemotherapy from Italy… or just a yucky smelling vitamin.
  • Watching her get hooked on hydrocodone for headache pain was very real and scary but didn’t prove anything.
  • Frequent blindness episodes. I found her several times standing in the middle of a sidewalk in Manhattan. Yes, I occasionally tried “testing” her during episodes. Only once did I vaguely sense any hole in this story: she put her foot into a slipper without fumbling during an episode. Luck? Lie? Who knows!
  • Several visits to the Columbia University Hospital ER where I would “step outside”, sitting just within earshot of their conversations. There was never any talk of brain cancer… except….
  • A poorly photocopied medical report from Columbia University Hospital where brain cancer was mentioned but the doctor’s name was obscured.
  • Visits to a couple NY Chinese medicine practitioners… acupuncture and herbalists.
  • A string of plausible reasons for why appropriate documentation of her condition didn’t exist. IE: When I went away for a week once, she said she spent several days at Memorial Sloan Kettering as a patient. I checked and she wasn’t listed as a patient… … she says that she was on the VIP floor… where people like the Pope and Rudy Giuliani stay. She had called me from an unlisted land-line somewhere in Manhattan.
  • She went to some clinic in Indiana for some crazy experimental treatment… Maybe. The treatment supposedly poked a needle through her eye socket and into her brain, so there was no scarring from the procedure. I realize that it sounds goofy but she spent hours explaining in detail how the procedure worked. Of course, I was never allowed / able / had the opportunity / to speak with any of the doctors at this underground facility.
  • Many more stories that would, all told, make a pretty good book.

I haven’t come forward with this before because I didn’t want to reopen my own old emotional wounds, didn’t want to rehash this weirdness, and didn’t want to ruin her medical reputation and the reputation of the doctor that forged her diagnosis. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that she is a head and neck cancer specialist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. This is getting ridiculous. She sent me a frigging care package after more than 2 years! It’s creepy!

I have saved every scrap of paper and will post “The long version” if Cha doesn’t stop.

Doctor Esther-Susan Niguidula Perez from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Stop.

Update 3-10-08: She’s not dead yet.

This blog post received the following comment on March 5th, 2008.

From: justas
Email: (presumably fake)
IP: (ISP is based in Manila, Philippines)
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he- or she as the case may be.

The wording is very much her style. She’s laid down similar mixed/broken metaphors like this before. Apparently, Cha moved back to the Philippines. Hopefully she will stay there as I have no place in my heart for her.

The New Star Wars IV sucks

It took me forever to get around to seeing it. I wish I had waited longer. EVERY modification that Greedo Lucas made stands out like an oozy, pussy discolored zit on a baby’s nose. I just got finished watching the Cantina scene and I had to turn it off! The stupid (and terribly terribly obvious) CG creatures in Mos Isley, the stupid (and terribly terribly obvious) CG scenery modifications, removing Greedo’s subtitling, and the reason I had to turn it off… it was changed so that instead of Han shooting Greedo under the table, the two of them fire at the same time above the table and Greedo misses. (that one went to court… the people’s court!) First, the modern CG was worse than the old 1976 animation. Second, Greedo missed? Third, the shots don’t line up; Greedo is shot in the chest but the fire and smoke comes out of the chair (ie, getting shot under the table). Fourth I hate that Lucas made some desperate bid to change the moral character of Han.

I’m reminded of seeing Star Wars I the first night in the theater with Jen and Michael. We were so excited to go! We all walked out of the theater feeling like we had been fleeced.

Eventually, I’ll probably see the rest of the move. If I see Jar Jar in it. I’m going to write a letter to Lucas.

Ahh! What’s up with the animated Jabba?

And the uninspired lines…. “Jabba, you’re a wonderful human being.” No wonder this lay on the editing room floor for 30 years. It could have laid there for another 30 and no one would have cried.

Support from Noni

I’ve been getting a lot of guilt from my mother about leaving New Jersey. “California is so far; what if something happened to me or your father?” etc…

I’ve been feeling pretty bummed about this. PPG suggested that I directly ask her for her support. So I asked, “I really would like to get your support on this, it’s something I feel that I have to do and I would like you to be happy and enthusiastic for me.”

“I do support you, but I don’t have to like it. I can’t stand how far away you’re going. Do you have to go so far?”

“Part of what supporting me means is not following every positive comment with a negative one. And no matter where I go, I’ll be near an airport. How is that different from you going to Florida for 6 months?”

“But California is farther away than Florida. Why don’t you go to Nashville. It’s so nice there. If you go away, I’ll never see you.” etc etc etc.

This circular crap went around for about 30 minutes. Every positive comment from me tempered by poorly masqueraded guilt-ridden pleading.

I’m glad we had the conversation. She gave me pretty much every argument she had in her arsenal. I can now tune them all out. :-(

My Family’s Plot

My dad bought 8 funeral plots in the fall. Here’s where my family will likely be buried.

WordPress suckiness

It would be so easy to put a sock in comment spam. Create a user system and then only allow approved users to post comments. WordPress took the time to make a user system but it only controls posting, not commenting. What’s with that? As it is, anyone (or any machine) that can type in an email address can post a comment.

I’ve browsed a mess of sites with all kinds of snazzy semi-heuristic, automatic scanning, sniffing plugin PHP edits and I still haven’t come across this fix. Feh.

The Terrorists have already won

I joined I’m betting good money that

  1. Zarqawi won’t be captured by March 31st
  2. Homeland Security will raise the rainbow flag one notch on New Year’s Eve (It’s an easy bet… I put up $3 for a chance at $40)
  3. It won’t be a white Christmas (actually, I’m betting there will be less than 2.5 inches of snowfall in Central Park in December)

It’s not a lack of patriotism, just…. well, it’s a free market. Literally.

How to beat a speeding ticket in New Jersey

Well, that’s not a perfectly accurate title, but that’s what everyone wants to do. Read on.

If this information saves you $500, I would appreciate a $5 donation. Don’t send me anything until AFTER you have been to the courthouse and saved money! Here is a Paypal donation link:

I got a “15MPH over the limit”, 4 point speeding ticket in Hackettstown New Jersey in October 2004. The cost of the ticket was about $100. But that’s the cheap part. The insurance rate hike is far more expensive! I called AIG (my new insurance company after they bought my policy from GE, who bought it from Colonial Penn, who bought it from…) and they couldn’t tell me how much my insurance was going go up with this ticket. Grrrr. But I recall that GE told me how much my rates would go up… about $150 per point for 3 years. And I would stop earning my “Merit Discount”. 5 years of me not getting any points earns me an 8% merit discount on my liability ($340/yr) & collision ($400/yr) insurance.

So the total cost of my 4 point ticket is:

$100 = speeding ticket
$300 = $60/year for 5 years, lost merit discount
$1,800 = $150/point * 4 points * 3 years


So here’s how to beat a speeding ticket in New Jersey. I can only tell you about my experience which was in Hackettstown, NJ.

With this strategy, the total cost of my ticket was reduced by more than 80%!

  1. Get a ticket :-(
  2. Go to your court date. Bring a checkbook and dress well. If you show up 30 minutes before the court opens, you’ll put your name near the beginning of the sign-in sheet and you’ll get out of court in an hour… Else, you could be there for 1-3 hours.
  3. On the way in, sign the “I want to talk to the prosecutor” sheet. It will be next to the sign-in sheet.
  4. Possibly wait a few hours. Read the book you brought and/or people-watch. It’s more interesting than watching people at the DMV!
  5. When you’re name is called to speak with the prosecutor, tell him that you’d like to pay a surcharge to the court instead of getting points on your license. (If the judge calls you before the prosecutor, tell him that you’re waiting to speak to the prosecutor) I was offered two choices:
    • First option: plead guilty, pay the ticket, $30 in court costs and get my ticket reduced to 2 points.
    • Second option: plead guilty, pay the ticket, $30 in court costs, a $250 surcharge and get my ticket reduced to 0 points. (Yes, just by showing up at the courthouse, I saved at least $900 in insurance fees!)
  6. Go before the judge. As long as he doesn’t think you are a menace to society and really deserve the points, he’ll approve of the deal. (at the courthouse, I saw a guy who had been driving for 9 months and was on his second ticket get denied.)
  7. Sign the check at the cashier’s desk.

I wrote a $380 check that night, avoiding $1,820 in costs over the next 3 years, an 83% savings!

You should also check out another of my blog pages. I saved another $300 by taking an online driving safety course.

How this works:

Recently (no, I don’t know how recently) a law was enacted in NJ allowing courts to charge a (mostly fundraising) surcharge instead of giving points. It puts the money in the states hands instead of the insurance company’s hands.

And now a rant on this subject:

Since this loophole exists, of course I am going to take advantage of it and tell my friends. But the theory behind this surcharge bothers me because it throws off the insurance actuarial tables. It’s probably true that people with many speeding tickets tend to get in more accidents and thereby cost more money to the insurance-paying group. So it is justified that they be charged more. And it’s possible that a person that has to pay $2,000 in order to continue driving will think twice about doing riskier behaviors… thereby keeping everyone safer.

This issue is much like the Canadian prescription drug issue that we’re going through in the U.S. right now. All this talk of legalizing Canadian drugs is just bull-dinky. The reason drugs are cheaper in Canada is because the Canadian government told the drug companies, “if you want to do business here, you -must- lower your prices.” We could do exactly the same thing in the U.S. The counter argument is that the more regulation in the pharmaceutical industry, the less innovation in new drugs there will likely be. And if you’re wondering where I see the connection, it’s that both the NJ surcharge system and the buying drugs from Canada short-circuits the free-market system.

Comments Closed:

I have closed comments on this post. If you have something to say about your situation, read ALL of the comments below first. Read them all the way to the end and you’ll know what to do. DO NOT EMAIL ME questions.


Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree! La la la la la la!


This is from a couple weeks ago but it was still yummy.. Apple Pie!


….. I swore to myself that I’d get through -all- of my emails today. …. 14 hours and 30 emails down…. only 120 to go. It’s those tough ones at the bottom of the list that made me want to “get through them all” in the first place so…. Well. I’ll keep at it.