That's a good looking bike. A VN900 was my first bike as well. Looks like it has some good accessories too, it has the Kawasaki saddlebags. They are pricey, but very nice, they gold quite a bit but look good. I've ridden in some awful storms and the contents have always been dry. I replaced them with hard bags later on though.
Sorry to hear that it went down. Glad you got to learn something from it without the scars to prove it. That protective gear is nice! Practice makes perfect, especially with braking. There is a FANTASTIC book, called 'proficient motorcycling', I really recommend it. It is not a 'how to ride a motorcycle' book. It is a 'how to deal with oil in the road in a rainstorm at an angle next to a rail road track' type of book. It's all about how to handle the kind of fluke situations that often result in a 'the time I laid it down' story. He also outlines how to PRACTICE for such situations.
As far as the oil filter, I've found a screwdriver removes the stock ones best!
Rather than fighting with it, drive a screwdriver through the REAR of the oil filter (so as not to hit the nipple on the inside), drive it all the way through, and then break it loose with that. Works great!
I really thought after that first 5000 miles was under my belt I was in the clear. It was my motorcycle telling me " Don't relax too much, nothing is for certain, and ALWAYS wear protective gear."
One of the things in that book I mentioned is the statistic that people who have ridden LESS than 6 months, are SAFER than people who have ridden MORE than 6 months (but less than 2 years). My theory is that after 6 months, people start getting comfortable. It's the same reason most accidents happen close to home- you've put your guard down. You are more likely to be distracted, to be too relaxed, to not be on your toes, etc. After some time, you will have a 'pucker' moment or two (and you've had a big one!) that'll snap you out of it! I wear gear too and for the same reason, stuff happens even when you don't want it to! All the experience in the world doesn't always save you, there are inherit risks to motorcycling, but good practice and experience goes a long way. I really encourage people to PRACTICE swerving, hard braking, and things like that often. If you come up on a left turner, do you want that to be the first time in a long time you braked hard on your motorcycle? Or would you rather it have been something you did several times a few weeks ago in a controlled environment?
Just curious, but what were you wearing when it went down? Any pics of the gear?
Keep the shiny side up! See you around!