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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Tuesday (9/13/11) 12:05am - ... wherein Peter lists logistics for the vacation.

With my planned departure date a couple of months away, I need to start thinking of some of the logistics involved here.

Stuff to Buy
For the schedule and the projects I have in mind, I'll need to buy a small set of items:

1.  An exercise bike.  It doesn't have to be new or particularly good, but it does need to have a book stand.[1]

2.  An on-off timer.  Basically, I need something that will switch on and off on a regular daily schedule.  Then I need to plug my WiFi router into it.  I firmly plan to be completely off the Internet for most of the day, every day -- and the only way I can do that is by physically turning off my router and setting my phone to airplane mode.  (No, really.)  At least to start with, it'll probably be more practical to just buy another Christmas-tree footswitch and turn the router on and off manually.

3.  A Mac.  Basically, unless it's just oh-god-no expensive, I want to buy a Mac that I use for learning video editing.[2]  I assume that something top-of-the-line is ideal, but I also assume that something a generation behind is still okay.  I assume I could at least start with Final Cut Express.

4.  If I want to pursue drawing at all, I will likely buy myself a digital tablet.

5.  A trumpet.  I'm assuming I can get a used one suitable for a new student for about $150.

I imagine I'll make separate posts for items 1, 3, and 5.  (I'll forgo the drawing tablet for now, and I'll just buy a foot-switch in place of any fancy timer switch.)  That will give me a handy place to dump all my shopping-research.

Project Logistics
In addition to buying stuff, I'll have to sort out some logistics for the projects I have in mind.

I need to locate a local trumpet instructor and verify that instruction isn't prohibitively expensive.  I need to figure out how much I expect to practice per day, and adjust my schedule around that.

And I need a game plan for sorting out the basics of video editing.  What tutorials will I work through?  What basic projects will I attack first?

Financial Arrangements
I'll need to get my 'cash cushion' sorted out.  I should have a pile of cash available by the beginning of December.  I'll need to make sure I gather all of that together -- withdrawing all my cash from my online broker, calling in some money I loaned my brother, and cashing out my vacation time at the office.

Concurrent with that, I'll want to take all my money out of Bank of America and re-invest it with a local credit union.  Then I need to make an arrangement with them where they give me a regular monthly 'allowance', investing the pile of cash in whatever short-term instruments will work best for that.

(If I don't find any work within a year or two [very possible], I'll need to sort out which assets to liquidate so as to keep me afloat.  I can cross that bridge when I come to it, though.)

I also have to sort out health insurance.  Yes, it's pricey, but I adamantly refuse to be uninsured.  So I have to choose a policy and get it lined up for December.  (That gets its own post too, I think.)

Finally, I have a pile of cash in my NI "Flexible Spending Account" that I need to spend on something medical before I leave the company.  If I don't spend it, the money disappears, which is stupid.  (If worse comes to worst, maybe I'll just blow it on teeth-whitening.)

Task Lists
The last thing I need to do is to set up a bunch of task lists.  As far as I can tell, I'll have five lists:
1.  Writing projects.
2.  Non-writing projects.
3.  Household tasks.
4.  Online tasks.  (As in "blogposts and correspondence".)
5.  Large, one-off tasks.
6.  Film-editing tasks.

Lists 2 and 5 may coalesce into one thing.  The idea is that #2 is for non-writing projects that I can do for those 1½-hour slots, and #5 is for those 'off days' when I don't wind up leaving the house, and so I wind up with an empty, 4-hour "rehearsal/socializing" slot.  The #2s are projects I might spend an hour or two on, every day, for long stretches, and the #5s are big, 'one-off' projects that each take a big chunk of time.

But honestly, those 1½-hour slots may disappear from my schedule -- I may just devote that whole 3-hour stretch to playing trumpet and editing film.  So that would leave just the occasional four-hour chunk devoted to trying something new or picking off some time-consuming errand.

Ideally, I'll have all these lists ready to go by December 1st, so once the Long Vacation starts, I won't have to waste time or willpower agonizing over which task to do next.

[1] Plus, I also need to try using an exercise bike and make sure it doesn't exacerbate my chronic-pain troubles.

[2] I would also use it for home recording if I decided to start up with that again.  Never again will I attempt serious home recording on a PC.

Mood: [mood icon] a bit overwhelmed
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Date:Tuesday (9/13/11) 10:06am
Kenny Wescott teaches french horn and works at a music store - he may be able to help you with both trumpet-related issues.
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Date:Tuesday (9/13/11) 11:15am
Ooh, good point.  Also, Ryan is a trumpeter.  I should message both of them.
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