Breaking the silence

I’ve been away from blogging just taking it easy after the accident, mostly just playing with the kids and waiting for an estimate for my car. We haven’t decided what to do with it yet, it depends on whether it’s worth fixing or not. As I wrote about before, the shop that screwed the brakes wants to pay only half for the repairs… I’m not willing to let them off so easy, but am waiting for the estimate to continue negotiations.

Meanwhile, this is the best thing I’ve watched in ten days:

I’m still alive

Almost fucking died today.

My car saved me.

My reactions saved me.

An inept mechanic almost killed me, and is now lying to save his job.

At about 10:00 this morning, I dropped off my car at a local garage called Prasertyon to get brakes on my just-restored Crown fixed. The brake pedal lost pressure yesterday and the brakes were locking on one side this morning, so it needed to be done.

Prasertyon had overhauled the entire brake system for me a couple years before, so I thought they would be familiar with my old car and do a good job… Nam and I piled the kids in her car and went to see if my car was finished at 5:00 pm. The kids fell asleep in their baby seats on the way, and when we arrived a couple mechanics were out testing the brakes on my car. As they pulled into the shop in my car, a good friend was passing by and came up to see what I was doing. This is important because he became a second witness to what happened soon after (the first witness being my wife).

I was told the repairs were complete, then was presented with a detailed bill. It came to a total of 1,000 baht for some replacement parts for the rear brakes, brake fluid, and labor (notably including setting the brakes for all four wheels).

Assured that the necessary repairs had been performed and the car tested by the mechanics, I left for home. I pulled away from the shop, with Nam and the babies in her car behind me, and my friend close behind them in his pickup. Less than half a kilo down the street from the shop, I was cruising at normal speed, within the speed limit, when I tried braking. The brakes completely locked up, unevenly, and the front of my car pulled sharply left. Suddenly, I was sliding sideways toward a curb, going fast enough to get flipped in the air. Instinctively, I wrenched the wheel to the right and the car straightened out enough to get launched in the air pointing forward, knock down a traffic safety sign on a steel pole, then come crashing down onto the asphalt, jump another curb, and finally smash headlong into a squarely-molded concrete power pole.

Nam had started pulling over when she saw/heard my brakes lock and saw the whole thing. She said she just went numb when it seemed my car was going to cartwheel. She was amazed when I opened the door and got out of the car. My friend following in the pickup also thought I must have gotten hurt pretty bad, at least. As it turns out, I hit my head pretty hard and will probably feel whiplash from tomorrow. I was bleeding a bit from a scrape on my forehead and probably scared everybody who came to rubberneck. I eventually went to the hospital to get a CT scan, and just heard back by phone that everything is OK. So I’m physically fine, and will come away from this just being a bit sore, hopefully.

After the accident, Nam went back to the garage to get help. A few guys came on a motorcycle and got the car started again, and eventually drove it back to the shop. We talked to one of the (presumed) owners of the shop, who started out saying they would pay for 50% of the damage, but within the period of me going to the hospital seemed to be trying to shirk responsibility altogether. Apparently she told Nam that once the car leaves the shop, the shop isn’t responsible for it anymore. I think I’ll let her think some more and revise her statement tomorrow; it makes me too mad to think about it right now. Plus, the mechanic who actually made the repairs is saying that Nam said something to him admitting guilt on my part, which is ridiculous but I guess he’s afraid of getting fired or something… Anyway, we have a meeting with the shop’s owners tomorrow afternoon, and my ruined car is there. They can conjecture about what happened on the road, and try and place the blame on anybody but themselves because they’re pissed about possibly losing money, but I hope they do the right thing, I really do. Because at this point, I am not to be fucked with. My car is pretty much irreparable (key parts are completely mangled). I almost died in front of my family. I at least want an apology, quick repayment for my medical bills, and some kind of repayment for my ride… We shall see.

The funny thing is, I was going to take the first photos of my completed car tomorrow. It just happened a day earlier.

Es verdad.

During my first year of study at Tenri University in Japan, I met my cousin Erisa. She was from a line of my dad’s family, the Yoshidas, who emigrated to Mexico, whereas my family went to Los Angeles. I never even really knew we had Mexican relatives until I met Erisa.

She spoke zero English, and I spoke high school level Spanish (just enough to not be able to do anything with), but we were both starting to learn Japanese, so we ended up using that over the time she was in Japan (just a couple of years, whereas I stayed for 13 or 14 cumulatively). We were both totally Japanese in appearance, so it must have been a sight when we had these multilingual conversations out in public.

Even though I was using e-mail and laptops before anybody else around me, nobody else was, and I’ve lost track of many good friends from those days. So it made me immensely happy to reconnect with Erisa on Facebook back in August, by accepting her friend request and commenting on one of her posts. She just replied to the comment today, so I guess she was busy or whatever, but I know I can contact her whenever, now. Maybe this leaves the door open for me to visit family in Mexico sometime…

I still hate Facebook for being evil and selling my private information to boner pill companies, but it did a good job for me today.

Senor Bauer

Here’s a clip of Jack Bauer’s (real life) South American counterpart, just in case you’ve forgotten what an awesome show 24 was.

“Para impedir a fuga de suspeitos de transportar carga ilegal para o Brasil, policiais federais de Ribeirão Preto (314 km de São Paulo) atiraram um carro da corporação contra o avião que era usado pelo grupo. Com a ação, os agentes da PF–que filmaram o momento da abordagem– conseguiram impedir a decolagem do avião.

A operação terminou com a prisão de cinco suspeitos –incluindo o piloto do avião– e apreensão de uma carga estimada em R$ 200 mil em notebooks, equipamentos de vigilância eletrônica e uma bicicleta.

Os produtos, que foram colocados numa camionete, vinham provavelmente do Paraguai e seriam comercializados na região de Ribeirão Preto, segundo a PF.”

Honest answers

Q: “Max, why did you hit Mina?”
A: “She’s bad.”

Q: “Mina, why are you eating the whole drumstick, bone and all?”
A: “Hungry.”

Q: “Max, why don’t you want to go to school?”
A: “I want to watch Mickey Mouse.”

Q: “Mina, why did you pee on the bed?”
A: “No diaper.”

Q: “Max, what sound does a giraffe make?”
A: “No sound.”

Q: “Mina, do you love daddy?
A: “No!”
Q: “Daddy has ice cream. Do you love daddy?”
A: “Yes!”
Q: “Which do you love more, daddy or ice cream?”
A: “Ice cream!”
Q: “Wrong answer. Let’s try again, shall we? Daddy or ice cream?”
A: “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! ICE CREAM!”

sigh.

Stop poking your face!

I finally found out who taught Mina to (irritatingly) pose for photos like a Japanese gyaru… She works at my wife’s uni, so I won’t say much except that she’ll find out about karma if she ever has kids — I’ll be teaching them to flip off every camera they see. I must admit, this habit Mina has picked up is kind of cute, but she does it in every shot. That’s OK, having the culprit’s baby giving the bird in every photo will be cute as hell, too.

@ Jungceylon, Patong Beach, Phuket