The Sunday Before Finals Week

Warm day on the Weekend? Hack Man on Speakers Circle!

I got to use my new MIZ and ZOU black & gold Abshire footbags. ZOU got best 3+ string with 17, but Threepeat, my red/blue bag, stole the show with the nearly 2-minute rally above. I kicked for a total of 1:45, and felt good at the end.

Catching up on the Scoreboard:

  •    9th – 30 min – (no vid) – 16×2, 16×3, 75 toes
  • 10th – 30 min – (no vid) – 23×2, 17×3, 113 toes
  • 11th – 30 min – (no vid) – 17×2, 13×3, 181 toes
  • 12th – 30 min – (no vid) – 15×2, 14×3, 91 toes, 352 1st rally
  • 14th – 1:45 – Preparing for Finals (above)

That’s 3:45 added to the previous 68:15, and…

I ONLY HAVE 3 MORE HOURS TO GO!

I can tell the near-nightly 30 minute sessions have boosted my strength a bit. I can feel it riding my bike. I felt it kicking on Speakers Circle. My ankle continues to improve; sometimes it and my foot feel almost downright normal. My back still feels a bit tweaky but no slippage or major pain during the latest session on the circle. But now, of course, my other ankle seems to have start hurting a bit.

I’m how many years old again? Between biking, hiking, and footbag, I’ve put well over 100 Million duty cycles on each hip, knee, ankle, and foot. That’s a lot. Sometimes I feel like I’m just wearing out. Wish I could just install new parts.

Not sure when I’ll get outdoors again.  But, I’m already looking forward to the day the Hack Man can make his Springtime Bloom on Speakers Circle again!

Thanks for tuning in,

 

New Richard Abshire Footbags

I got them weeks ago. I left them in the package, savoring the thought of what was inside. Tonight, I bust ‘em open, and take a taste!

The scoreboard now looks like this:

  • 3rd – 30 min – (no vid) – 15×2, 13×3, 87 toes, plus 16 consec. osis & 404 first rally
  • 4th – 30 min – (no vid) – 14×2, 11×3, awful toes rally attempts
  • 6th – 30 min – (no vid) – 23×2, 16×3, 101 toes
  • 7th – 30 min – New Abshire Footbags – 17×2, 16×3, 88 toes, 1,000+ first rally

2 more hours, for a new total of 68:15 for year, only 6:45 more to go. That’s 14 more 30 minute sessions, with 24 more days to do it. I think I can.

Good news is, my ankle in particular seems to be doing much better. My back seems to be improving since slipping at Speakers Circle too. Unfortunately, my knees seem to be getting worse again.

But I’m still kicking.

Thanks for tuning in!

 

One Warm Day, Many Cold Nights

Here’s what happened on the warm day:

It’s SO nice to get a warm weekend day when I can go kick on Speakers Circle. It’s been so cold! I’ve been struggling dreadfully in the Homie Hole, so I was keyed up to get some Speakers Circle Mojo going.

But, it wasn’t quite to be. I feel like I brought the Homie Hole struggle out to the circle instead. I only got 12 guiltless, only had one really good rally, and kinda tweaked my back near the end.

And now, my back is just really tweaky.

But, I still got to play footbag for an hour and a half, outside, most of it with my shirt off!

I really am kinda worried I’m teaching myself horrible kicking habits by playing in my basement, feeling cramped, dealing with musculoskeletal problems. I might try to re-arrange my basement and move my kicking spot. The only thing that keeps me from throwing in the towel, is the knowledge that not playing is almost infinitely worse. (although I did take 2 days in a row off after my last blog post)

So here’s the score:

Another 3 hours new + 63:15 previous = 66:15 total.

I only need 8:45 more; 18 more 30-minute sessions, and I’ve got 29 more days to go. I’m catching back up quickly, dropped from needing almost 3 out of 4 days last blog post, to needing just less than 2 out of 3 days now.

It’s still more footbag more consistently than I’ve played in many, many years. It seems to be helping my ankle but hurting my back. And, it’s very frustrating to feel so off and play so poorly, so consistently. This is my longest “down” streak in many years, too.

I can’t forget: NOT kicking is even worse. Way worse.

So, I kick.

Thanks for tuning in!

 

Gospel of Hacky Sack on Mizzou Traditions Plaza

Witnessing the Gospel of Hacky Sack on Mizzou’s new Traditions Plaza, for the first time EVAR!!1!

I like it! I was worried the bricks might feel uneven, but… nah. It’s protected from the wind. The stage is huge, lots of room up there, and the whole bottom level is nice too. I had fun with the video, and had a great time kicking there!

In other news, I’ve been going hard in the Homie Hole. 5 straight days kicking to start; almost certainly my longest daily streak since attending the 1999 World Footbag Championships in Chicago. Here’s the scoreboard:

  • 16th – (prev. post) – Resurrection of the Homie Hole, 118 toes
  • 17th – 30min – Homie Hole 02, (nothing special)
  • 18th – 30min – (no vid) 13×2-add, 13x 3-add, 99 toes
  • 19th – 30min – Hacky Sclerosis, 8×2-add, 8×3-add, no toes
  • 20th – 30min – (no vid) 15×2, 15×3, 104 toes
  • 22nd – 1:20 – Gospel of Hacky Sack on Traditions Plaza (above)
  • 24th – 30min – (no vid) 13×2-add, 12×3-add, 67 toes
  • 25th – 30min – (no vid) 13×2-add, 13×3-add, 116 toes

4:20 total new + 58:55 prev. = 63:15! Only 11:45 to go, 24 more days in the hole, out of 34 more days left in the year. Kicking for 30 minutes 3 out of 4 days wins.

Plus, there might be another outdoor chance this weekend. Wish me luck!

One more note about the “Hacky Sclerosis” thing: Yes the Hactionary is real. So is the condition. I have found myself with a very bad case of this on the left side, in conjunction with my recovering ankle. I tend to ball up my fist and wrist in conjunction with doing inside kicks and stalls, especially cross-body stalls with that ankle. I’m having to work really hard to relax my left hand and wrist while I’m kicking.

Thanks for tuning in!

 

The String of Sunday Speaker Circle Sermons

Weather forecast says this may be the last good chance to kick outdoors this year, not going to pass it up:

Since last blog post, there’s also been:

11/2 – 1:35 – Weekend Ankle Struggle Rally and Ain’t Scared of Stairs

11/9 – 2:00 – See Above, and another video, Brother Lance and I

Making a total of 3:35 added to previous 54:50 for a total of 58:25. I would need to kick at least 18 minutes every day the rest of the year to meet my annual footbag goal of 75 hours. Can I do it? The Homie Hole will be put to the test!

In other news, I have finally started data logging the last 6 years of footbag video I’ve posted to YouTube. This has been a long-term goal of mine, to document my footbag performance over time as I age. Data from Sept. 2008 to July 2009 looks like this so far:

Footbag Data

I don’t seem to be as good as I remember myself being back then, looking at the data. But the data is solid, it tells the truth even if it’s less glamorous than I’d like. I should eventually be able to develop plots over time with all this data, move pattern and sidedness analysis, and more.

A final note: the ankle: still better, still not good, still struggling, but I’m not giving up.

I LOVE TO PLAY HACKY SACK!

 

Mizzou Homecoming Day

I couldn’t resist a pre-game footbag session in Speakers Circle for Mizzou Homecoming:

That’s just the game-winning rally. The day produced 3 other videos too:

And for time accounting purposes, since the last blog post:

Total time since last post: 4:15, plus 50:35 already on the board, for 54:50 total. Yeah, I’m counting any footbag, solo or circle, as time towards my goal. I’m desperate. I’m making “par” on a weekly basis, but not catching up to my now seemingly impossible goal. Still no action in the Homie Hole yet. Weather has been too good.

Now, for the promised update on health issues…

I’ve been to the doctor. I’m going to a chiropractor. I’ve been to the other doctor. None of it, so far, has done me any good.

The orthopedic doctor and general physician just tell me there’s nothing wrong with my ankle. They’ve suggested I’m just imagining the pain, fluid retention, excessive joint popping, and inability to move normally and play footbag. Of course, I can go in for more tests: an MRI on my ankle. But, Of course, despite paying thousands of dollars every year for health insurance, that insurance hardly covers any of the cost. Every time I think about the scam called “Health Insurance,” and the fact it’s cheating and stealing from me every single f’ing day, I get so angry I want to break things.

Of course the chiropractor tells me I’m “…adjusting up real good.” At first I was willing to believe, my back did seem to get marginally better. But the latest evidence says otherwise: Due to bad weather, work, and them being closed for a Jewish holiday, I missed 5 weeks. During that time, my back started feeling better, not just a little but a lot better. But then, I went back, and the next morning after the adjustment, my back felt terrible again. It’s like that adjustment just totally re-fucked up my back. Now, I’m plagued with those sharp, shooting pains with any wrong movement. I’m pretty sure my next visit will be my last.

So unless some medical person can come out of the woodwork and offer some tangible diagnosis (other than “Hmmm…” or “I think you’re imagining it.”), I’m calling my foray into the healthcare industry worse than worthless. Not worthless as in free or cheap, in fact it’s extremely expensive. Worthless as in you just paid $40,000 for a car that won’t even start worthless. Worthless as in the insurance company denied my general physician’s claim altogether. I’m stuck with 100% of the cost of the visit. Assholes.

You bet if I stopped playing footbag, and came down with some kind of sedentary-inspired disease as a result, insurance would cover THAT. But… trying to get something covered that will keep me active and healthy? Reduce lifetime healthcare expenses? NO. F*KING. WAY.  You gotta pay for that yourself. Have I mentioned this makes me ANGRY?

This isn’t healthcare. This is a sickness industry. This is evil. This is extortion and robbery. This is hurtful and mean. THIS. IS. WRONG.

I guess I’m on my own. And, I’m kinda lost. I’m not sure what to do, but suffer. Maybe when my back gives out while I’m up on a ladder working, and fall off and get seriously injured, maybe THEN I might get some help. But, not really, not likely. The reality is, I’ll just get yelled at and punished for missing work, then get fired. At least that will solve the problem of the insurance industry stealing my money; I won’t have any for the greedy assholes to steal anymore.

I don’t even have a steady gait anymore. I’ve started dragging my left heel when I walk. My back problem, the sudden stab of intense pain, has nearly caused me to fall several times now – often when on stairs, even up on a ladder. It becomes more difficult to walk, move, go up and down stairs, sit or stand, ride my bike, or play footbag. It’s very disturbing.

I’ve already had to face the fact that my ankle and foot have been messed up for almost a year now. It’s not getting better.  My shoulder problem, going on a year and a half. The flesh in my left foot, constantly swollen with fluid retention, is permanently damaged. This is the new normal. It sucks, I hate it.

One of the few things that seems to help is… to play footbag. My ankle always feels better after playing footbag. It’s going back to work that makes it hurt more. My back felt better for a day after playing footbag, too. Now, it’s just horrible again.

My plans: Fuck the Medical Industrial Complex. Start back exercises. Keep doing what I’ve been doing on my own to take care of my ankle and feet. Keep riding my bike. And, so importantly, KEEP PLAYING FOOTBAG.

Super Fun Sunday Footbag Session

After 5 years of publishing almost exclusively single-rally videos, I’ve run completely off the rails with this one. I think it’s the longest footbag video I’ve ever published. It was that kind of day on Speakers Circle today!

If you can make it all the way through, I had at least a dozen rallies well over a minute long. I called, and delivered, the last 3 of the day. A Super Awesome Footbag Sunday on Speakers Circle!

Accounting: Since the last blog post, where I had hurt my ankle and railed against the Medical Industrial complex, I started kicking again 5 weeks after injury. Here’s the rundown:

Time totals: 10:05 since last post of 40:30, so I’m at 50:35 for the year. My original goal of That means I’ve got ~24.5 hours to go to meet my annual goal of 75 hours. I’ve got… 10 more weeks. That’s almost 2-1/2 hours per week to hit my goal. 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Don’t think I’m gonna make it, but the Homie Hole might be busy the rest of the year trying. If my ankle stays well enough.

Next up: the disappointing medical shrug over my chronic ankle problems. In the meantime, thanks for tuning in!

 

I don’t really hate them all, I’m sorry I said that

Dear US Healthcare workers: I don’t really hate you. I’m sorry I said that. The vast majority of healthcare workers are kind and wonderful people; there because they really want to help.

I still have bad experiences though, and I marvel at that: almost everyone involved is a good person. People are trying their best. Yet for me, results seem 50/50 at best. Statistically, my criticisms of US healthcare are valid: we really do pay twice as much per capita as every other civilized country for healthcare, yet have some of the worst outcomes.

I have my opinions about why: Our chosen cost control and fraud prevention mechanism has become the fraud, and cost, in the system.

It all started with Ross Perot back in the 70’s. Medicare hired his (at the time) tiny little firm, EDS, to implement an electronic record keeping system. Back in the infancy of computing, memory was expensive. A coding system was implemented to represent descriptions of things to save memory. It was also implemented as a cost control measure; since it was all standardized, and computerized, they could easily search for and reject procedures that didn’t “match” with diagnostic codes, and reject any other errors or perceived discrepancies as well.

This government contract is where Ross Perot got all his money.

The private insurance industry quickly followed suit. Almost immediately, administrative warfare developed. Doctors and institutions had to hire staff to code and submit claims; insurance companies hired legions of claims processors to scrutinize and deny anything they could. The grain and complexity of the coding system quickly multiplied with growing computing ability and everyone’s vested interest in trying to either get paid, or not pay, for every little thing.

Today, this is known as the ICD-X coding system, where X is the current version. We are currently transitioning from ICD-9 to ICD-10. In this dictionary of medical procedure codes is virtually every single individual pill, poke, prod, pad, process, procedure, etc. that exists in the medical world. And it all has to be tracked, submitted, scrutinized, rejected, argued about, resubmitted… every. tiny. little. detail. This is why a tylenol costs $10 at a hospital; the pill is dirt cheap, but… the tracking of it is insanely expensive.

Today, this administrative warfare costs us about 25% of our total healthcare bill.  What was supposed to prevent fraud and waste, has become the fraud, waste, and useless expense in our system.

What’s worse, the system seems to have grown to absolute dominance. Everybody is trapped in the belly of this beast. This is why, despite the best intentions of the vast majority of healthcare peeps, the outcomes remain poor.

I am sorry I spoke so harshly about so many people trapped in the belly of the beast. I do not hate any of you; you are truly wonderful people.

I just want the beast to die, and for all of us freed from the madness.

Injured. Again.

It’s mostly been a good summer at City Hall. But, my back and ankle problems have culminated in this:

So yeah. Ouch. 4 days later, it’s not a bad sprain, but it’s still going to take me out for a couple of weeks at least. I’ve been keeping it up as much as possible, and applying Arnica on it 3-4 times a day. But I’m still working, I’m not taking time off, and a day at work means walking, lifting, and climbing ladders. It hurts, and it costs me healing and recovery.

I’m not entirely sure what to do next. I think I’ve had a discreet chronic minor ankle injury that I’ve just turned into an acute major ankle injury. But I’ve also got back problems that I think are affecting my ankle. I need help from medical professionals. Unfortunately…

Have I mentioned how much I despise the medical industrial complex? I need to see a doctor. I’ve got a good sports orthopedic doc, it just takes a while to get in to see him and he is just good, not right all the time. I need to see a chiropractor regularly, but that takes time and money, the two things I never seem to have enough of.

But seriously, fuck the American medical industrial complex. I have paid, and continue to pay, so much, for the privilege of having bad experiences with doctors and insurance and medical facilities. I hate them, I hate them all. I hate them fully and completely without any reservation. The American medical industrial complex is a thoroughly corrupt, greedy, inept, totally fucked up system. It does not help me, it just takes my money. And usually, wastes my time too. 

For myself, I’m going to start my back exercises again. That’s something I can do, that probably won’t hurt, doesn’t cost money, and doesn’t require someone else to help me or forms or appointments. It’s just the time and commitment of doing it regularly. I never seem to have any time to do anything else, especially not take care of myself.

Except, for one thing: Playing footbag has been how I’ve taken care of myself, in so many ways, for so many years. Physically, mentally, spiritually; footbag has been my refreshment and salvation. Yet, to be able to do this one thing I do, to take care of myself, I must consistently fight other people, and always the weather, to do it.

This IS the time I take to take care of myself. And, It’s already a constant battle to get that time: One pre-scheduled time slot a week, no rainchecks, no concessions. So, I work my ass off the rest of the week, fight like hell, and make make damn sure I get that time. But, it seems to be all the fight I’ve got, and all the taking care of myself time I get. It doesn’t matter whether or not I can walk; I may not get to play footbag, but I’ve still got to carry my own laundry up and down two flights of stairs.

Speaking of time, here’s the scoreboard for the year:

June 26th: Yet Another Great PhatTyre Sport First Rally and A Fun Thirty One – 2 hrs

July 3rd: 3rd of July – 1 hr

July 11th: More Props at City Hall – 1/2 hour solo, 1 hr circle hack, I’m calling it – 1 hr

July 18th: First Fun Then Disaster (above) – 1 hr

That puts me at 40:30 for the year. I had *just* caught up, but then my ankle has limited my play time, putting me 3 hours behind, and destined to get even farther behind now that I’m injured and need to take a week or two off.

By the time I can kick again, I will have to kick 2 full hours every week the rest of the year to meet my goal. But I can’t even kick that much in a single weekly session right now. The only way I’m going to make that goal, is a lot of time in the Homie Hole. Mark my word: there will be issues. If kicking in the Homie Hole regularly is the only way I can play footbag, I expect it to become a fight to be able to play there at all. Bring it the fuck on.

Thanks for tuning in!