Year-End Reconciliation, Goals for 2013

Yes, New Years Resolutions. No, I am not immune. After all the crap that’s happened to me in 2012, I am resolving to put the year behind me, and put even more hope, more importance, and more emphasis on a better 2013. 

But first, a reconciliation of last year’s goals. What were my goals for 2012 again, and how did I do? 

1. Play at least 60 hours of footbag. This is the same goal I have set for myself for the last several years. I came roaring out of the gate in 2012, racking up over 50 hours of play in the first 5 months, with freakishly warm weather. I was on pace to double my goal. Unfortunately, I got taken out in turn two, with chondromalacia, and in turn four, with a twisted ankle. The last 7 months saw less than 30 more hours; I finished with 79-1/2 hours in 2012. 

In one sense, it might look like my goals were way off. I was pacing 120 hours for the year. But in the other sense, it’s obvious my goals are, in fact, very realistic, taking into account the unknown, but almost inevitable hiccups throughout the year. 

2. Ride at least 2,400 Km on the bike. My bike goals have fluctuated a bit; the previous year I had set a goal of 3,000 Km, but missed that. I lowered my goal for 2012, but ended up riding 3,125 Km this year. I’m pleased with my final distance, and very pleased that these are mostly “car displacement” miles, too. That’s another 1,500 pounds of CO2 not released into the atmosphere this year. 

3. Do something kinda crazy, to be determined rashly. Um… I think getting hit by a bus and getting fucked over by insurance companies on the deal is pretty crazy. Maybe not something I actively did, but… definitely crazy, and has certainly created an irritating rash of disappointment in my life. 

That’s it. Those were my goals for 2012, and the final reconciliation of achievement. 

So, without further ado, here are my goals for 2013: 

1. 75 hours of footbag. Yes, that’s right, I’m finally bumping up my goal a bit. I’ve done 75+ the last 2 years, despite setbacks, and I’m just gonna turn the heat up on myself a bit: an average of an hour and a half a week, every week, all year. I’m actually planning to change my kicking habits just a bit, too: I’m going to try to kick more than once a week, but for shorter periods of time per session. I believe this will help keep the chondromalacia at bay. Although I’ve come to the disappointing realization that my ankle may take 6 months to a year to really heal, and I’ll still be feeling the pain this spring, I am determined to recover.

2. 3,000 Km on the bike. Another aggressive goal, but I believe I can. I might even get a new road bike for my 50th birthday! That might give me a reason to pound out a few more kilometers. 

3. Bring my Reflectingyou.com business online, and ship product by fall 2013. This is a way new and different goal for me, but I’ve been developing and testing these things for years, and I have a plan to make it a real and legitimate side business. 
4. Go on a rip-snorting canoe trip for my 50th birthday, hopefully with my brother. I did a canoe trip with the Bro & some friends for my 40th, it’s time to do this again. Not on the Big Piney though; I don’t like that river anymore. Whoever wants to share an epic birthday canoe trip with me at the end of August, start making plans, because I’m doing it. 
5. Take a “Picture a Day” series on Flat Branch Creek. I’m hoping to take the exact same shot from a camera jig almost every day of 2013, and develop it into a photo series detailing the seasonal life of the creek. 
6. Take the Wilderness Ridge Resort owner to small claims court for loss of my minivan. This will take a lot of work and effort, and some legal advice, but I have a plan to get a real legal ruling in a court of law (as opposed to just a bullshit insurance determination), assigning liability to the  bus driver, and awarding monetary damages for loss of my vehicle. If I can win this case, I will use any money awarded to fund my reflectives business venture. 
That’s way more goals – larger, and more complex – than I usually set. But if 2013 is even a fraction as good, as 2012 has been bad, it’s gonna be an awesome, excellent, most wonderful year. 

Here’s wishing you a most excellent and wonderful new year too: 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

Going Down the Rabbit Hole…

…yes, the rabbit hole of anger and dispair. 

Sorry to be blunt, but it’s been a really shitty year for me. The big ones are, in order: 

 

1. Chondromalacia strikes knee cartilage, forces me to stop kicking. 
2. Hit by a speeding, grossly negligent bus driver for Father’s Day, totaling family vehicle. 
3. Got royally fucked by the insurance companies regarding liability for that accident.
4. Change of management at work, quality of job goes to hell, 2 years of informal management responsibility flushed down the toilet. 
5. Severely twisting ankle this fall, keeping me from kicking again. It’s been 3 full months now, it still hurts, not anywhere near being healed. 

I guess I’m just on the “short” schedule for this crap: I get the massive “here’s a cluster of hot red pokers up your ass from the universe” beat-down every 6 years, not the classic 7. But regardness the timeframe, make no mistake: I do feel utterly and completely beat down

Then, my heart immediately goes out to dozens of others I know, and millions I don’t, who have lost so much more than I have this year. Friends who have lost their parents; friends who have worse injuries than mine; millions of Americans with even worse jobs than mine, or no jobs at all; and parents who have lost their own children
I immediately wonder, “What the fuck justification do *I* have to whine about my little problems?” The easy answer, the one designed to shut me up and shut me off from the rest of humanity, is “none.” The answer is that we should all suffer silently, and alone. 
Well, that’s the wrong answer. 

I look around, and I see so much of this. I see so many people struggling through beat-down after beat-down. Almost everybody gets fucked by insurance companies. Almost everyone works their ass off for less and less every year. Almost everyone gets nothing but a companion beat-down from their workplaces, if they end up getting hurt and have trouble performing their duties. 

People can’t afford decent medical care, often even despite having insurance; they can’t risk taking time off work to take care of themselves for fear of losing that job, but the only thanks they get for trying is getting chewed out for what they can’t accomplish under very difficult circumstances. 
Meanwhile I see numerous Twitter posts, from truly sick assholes, bragging about how many thousands of rounds of ammunition they’ve bought since the Sandy Hook tragedy. This, perhaps, is the ugliest and most disgusting thing of all that I’ve seen. It literally makes me sick to my stomach to read that horrible crap. 

And… I’m so fucking tired of it. I’m tired of sheer stupidity and hatefulness and punitive mindset that permeates our culture. I’m tired of working so hard, just to find myself with less and less every year. I’m tired of greedy corporations stealing from people, just because they can. I’m tired of watching the gross mismanagement of our policing resources, focused on confiscating drug money, not illegally owned firearms. I’m tired of being punished for trying my hardest to overcome difficulties. I’m tired of people ignoring Global Warming, pretending we’re not royally shitting in our kid’s lives, because it might inconvenience their own. 

I’m tired of it. All of it. It’s all bullshit. Everything, from the maddening series of little problems I’ve had with my bikes over the last week, to the grinding, poverty-level wages WalMart pays employees, forcing them to seek government assistance, profiting off the employees spending that government assistance back into those stores, and then having the gall to call those workers moochers and freeloaders. I’m tired of watching us slowly turning our children’s natural environment into a future nightmare of hell, and lazily arguing about whether it’s even real or whether something should even be done. It’s all bullshit. And I’m tired of it. 

I’ve still got so much fucking work to do, too: at my day job, at my side jobs, on my house, and on things I want to do for myself, and for the environment. There’s just no way: I can’t do it all. No matter how hard I work, no matter how much of myself I pour out, no matter how much responsibility I assume, all I can ever manage to do is disappoint everyone else, and get slapped in the face for trying. It’s never enough, it’s never right, there’s never a reward. Just… another fucking beat-down. Again, I’m tired of it. Tired of all of it. 

I’d say I’m ready to give up, but… I already did. I stopped playing footbag. Bad weather, work pressure, special holiday activities and other obligations that always trump my footbag time; not being able to afford a decent place to go play footbag in bad weather; physical pain, and the cloud of personal and collective dispair. One precious Footbag Thursday slips by. Then, another. Yes, I gave up. I fell into the rabbit hole of anger and dispair. 

So… what do I do? What have I done? 

I finally played footbag again last night. To be clear, I despise my winter kicking situation. The Secret Hideout itself is OK, but… it’s not legitimate. I have to “steal” my time in there, just for my own sanity. And what do I get for trying to take care of myself? The perpetual worry I might get discovered, lose what little I have there, and possibly even lose my job over it. Sorry to sound entitled, but… I deserve better. I’ve played footbag for over 30 years. It’s my life’s work. I deserve to have my kicking time, and space needs, respected. But all I get is beat down, shoved away, and I have to go hide in this skanky, tenuous pit. 

But, I still played footbag. It seems like such a small thing; selfish, too. But it gives me a moment of joy, however fleeting. Gravity does not judge, it’s love is pure and consistent. It fuels the light of love inside me, a light that is infinitely more powerful than all the effort I could ever put into fighting the darkness directly. There is a lesson in here, somewhere

For just an hour, one simple effort drove away the darkness and dispair. For just an hour, I felt love and encouragement. For just an hour, I shone brilliant and powerful. For whatever time I can kick, it does this for me. Playing footbag bathes my soul in simple happiness

With my soul bathed in the light of love and the power of happiness, even for a few minutes, I can let that powerful light radiate outward. I can project joy and happiness, instead being overwhelmed by anger and dispair. I believe it makes the world a better place, however insignificantly. This, for now, I can do for the world. 

I plan to make one more blog post on New Year’s Eve, with reconciliation of this year’s goals, and commitment for next year’s goals. Until then, 

1:00 / 79:30 – MY FINAL FOOTBAG TIME TALLY FOR THE YEAR 2012. 

Thanks for tuning in! 

Screwed by Nationwide Insurance: Upate, Final Letter

From: Derrick Fogle

To: Derrick Fogle
CC: (Nationwide Insurance and American Family Insurance representatives) 
UPDATE – Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
As it turns out, A letter from American Family arrived at my house about 3 weeks ago. My wife even opened it and read it at the time, but I never found out about it until Sunday evening, when she saw my Facebook posts about this, and brought it to my attention. I discovered the letter buried in a pile of junk mail. I was honestly looking for an email, or perhaps a phone call, not a letter. I’m sorry for mistakenly thinking this case had not been determined yet. 
I hope you understand why I have told everyone this, despite the fact that it makes me look like a jerk. 
As God is my witness, that bus driver was totally out of control, breaking multiple traffic laws, and he was completely responsible for that accident. Missouri traffic law is not ambiguous at all: By the very fact there was a conflict between two vehicles where roads meet, the point of conflict is defined as part of an intersection [Ref. #1, below]; therefore, the bus driver was legally liable to yield, regardless of the physical presence of a Yield sign, when entering that intersection [Ref. #2]. I have contacted the Pulaski County Road Supervisor [Ref #3], who confirmed to me that there has been, and is supposed to be, a Yield sign the bus driver would have been subject to when entering that intersection; but, that it had been stolen repeatedly and had not been replaced recently. The bent and vandalized Yield sign pole, and it’s position in the accident scene, is visible in both the photographs I submitted as evidence, as well as the accident reconstruction drawings I submitted. Furthermore, the documentation I provided also clearly showed the bus driver was speeding recklessly. Only by the grace of God did his dangerous actions not kill or seriously injure me or my family. As God is my witness, these are the real and true facts in this case. 
But… insurance liability determinations obviously have nothing to do with facts, or the law. This determination is directly contrary to all of them. The “independent” review is nothing but a sad joke; just part and parcel of a corrupt, greedy, and hurtful insurance industry. I am not fooled by this ruse. 
While I still contest this case and will continue to pursue a legal ruling through the justice system, we all know that I have very little practical recourse in this matter. Deep down, I believe everyone also knows that’s precisely *WHY* this is being done to me: Simply because it can be done, just for money. 
People have been dishonest, cheated, and stolen from me. God is my witness; I know this to be true in my heart. I am very sad, and still angry right now, that I have found myself a nearly helpless victim of dishonesty and fraud by the insurance industry. This happens far too often, to far too many people. But every time it does, it’s still wrong, and every time, it adds another smudge of ugliness, violence, and horror to our society. 
I hope the rest of you are, as I am today, utterly heartbroken to see just how ugly, violent, and dark our society has become – partly because of an endless litany of purposefully hurtful actions like what Nationwide has done to me. 
My conscience is clear, and I can only hope that someday the people who have cheated and hurt me become ashamed of what they’ve done: to me; almost certainly to many others; and by extension, to all of humanity. 
I still have one specific request for all of you right now: 
Please stop being dishonest and cheating others. It hurts people, it hurts everyone, it degrades the whole society we all must live in. Please, I ask you: stop choosing to hurt other people. 
It may not be easy, but it is always right. 
Thank you all for your time and consideration. 
Derrick Fogle 
REFERENCES: 
Missouri Revised Statutes
August 28, 2011
[Ref. #1]
——————————————–
Chapter 300
Model Traffic Ordinance
Section 300.010
Definitions.
300.010. The following words and phrases when used in this ordinance mean:
(13) “Intersection”,
(a) The area embraced within the prolongation or connection of the lateral curb lines, or, if none, then the lateral boundary lines of the roadways of two highways which join one another at, or approximately at, right angles, OR THE AREA WITHIN WHICH VEHICLES TRAVELING UPON DIFFERENT HIGHWAYS JOINING AT ANY OTHER ANGLE MAY COME IN CONFLICT*; 
(*emphasis mine) 


[Ref. #2]
————————————————
Chapter 304
Traffic Regulations
Section 304.351
Right-of-way at intersection–signs at intersections–violation, penalty–additional penalties–definitions–order of suspension, contents, appeal.
304.351.
1. The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle which has entered the intersection from a different highway, provided, however, there is no form of traffic control at such intersection.
2. When two vehicles enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the driver of the vehicle on the right. This subsection shall not apply to vehicles approaching each other from opposite directions when the driver of one of such vehicles is attempting to or is making a left turn.


[Ref. #3] 

————————————————–
Pulaski County Road Supervisor
(contact information redacted for this blog post)

An Open Letter to Nationwide and American Family

From: Derrick Fogle

To: Derrick Fogle
CC: (Nationwide Insurance and American Family Insurance representatives) 
Sunday, December 16th, 2012
It has been six months, to the day, since a bus driver from Wilderness Ridge Resort came speeding out of a side road, failed to yield entering an intersection, and slammed into the side of my vehicle, totaling it, moderately injuring me, and (almost freakishly luckily, only) inflicting minor injuries on my children

It it absolutely WRONG that I should have to wait this long – or any time at all, really – for redress and full settlement for this incident. 

This Christmas, my family has to go without – has to do with a little less – because Nationwide Insurance’s first priority is to be dishonest, and try to cheat me out of a rightful settlement; and also because American Family has delivered no more than a slap in my face to defend my interests. 

Again: It is absolutely wrong, and thoroughly shameful, that my family and I have been treated like this. It is absolutely wrong that my family be the one that suffers, has to scrape by and do without, because the counter-party in the accident, and all parties in the insurance industry, are playing money-games with other people’s lives. 

I have provided extremely extensive case documentation on my behalf: Proving beyond any reasonable doubt that the bus driver was speeding excessively, both exceeding posted speed limits (40+ in a 25), as well as speeding “basic rule” meaning he was driving way too fast for his own limited visibility and stopping distance. I have also provided photographic evidence, as well as contacts for the local road commissioner, confirming that there is supposed to be, and has been in the past, a physical yield sign for the bus at that intersection. Furthermore, I have provided direct citation of Missouri Uniform Traffic Code (300.010 (13) (a) and 304.351 (1) and (2)) which make it absolutely crystal clear that the collision occurred in an intersection (not a right-of-way), and that even in the absence of a physical yield sign, the bus driver was still liable to yield when entering the intersection. 

There is absolutely no legitimate excuse for this case to still be pending. You people are just playing hurtful, shameful games with other people’s lives. 

American Family Claim # 141-921843 

Nationwide Insurance Claim # 72 24 PE 124202 

Formal Complaint Case against Nationwide for wrongful initial determination # 2569509 

I request both a current status on this case, as well as a request that everyone move forward toward a speedy and rightful, 100% liability determination against the bus driver, and full settlement for me and my family. 

Cordially, 

Derrick Fogle