December 4th, 2004

marcus 2013

Dragonmeet, FF IX, etc.

Thursday evening started badly when I went to burn the first 40 copies of the FF distribution CD for registered users and found that Nero suddenly wasn't working in this PC, while my old Windows 98 machine had such an old version I couldn't remember how to make multiple copies - I thought I knew but it didn't work.

So I hastily installed a recent OEM version on the 98 machine and started making the disks there while trying to figure out what had gone wrong with the XP machine. The answer appeared to be that the drivers for a webcam I'd installed a couple of days ago, to see if it'd be suitable for some scientific work, had corrupted Nero in some way. It then took eight attempts to get Nero off the machine and reinstalled (for some reason Nero gives problems if you don't clear it off completely) and get it to work. Meanwhile the 98 machine was grinding out the CDs pretty fast, and I ended up making them all on it while the XP machine was still throwing fits about the Nero install. Both are OK now, but it wasn't easy.

That took me to eight or so, what with labelling etc., so I spent the rest of the evening making player handouts, posters, printouts of some of the art, etc., finally finishing at about 2.30 AM. Staggered to bed, staggered up again at seven, showered, then out to Kensington town hall for Dragonmeet. Gave them an old board game I'd bought in for the charity auction, was told that they still hadn't decided what charity to give it to and suggested Cancer Research UK. Then went up to set up my table and try to get organised (fat chance...)

Next discovery was that the powerpoint rolling demo for Forgotten Futures wasn't on my laptop. I forgot to copy it across after re-installing Windows a month or so ago. Wonderful, especially since this demo was the main reason I put in a network, it's way too big for floppies. Fortunately I had quite a lot of demo stuff with me including 20+ paper automaton cutouts so I set up a little display of paper figures etc. instead.

Doors opened about ten and in the end things went pretty well, everything considered. I had a full table for both games; the Forgotten Futures players successfully uncovered the Prussian Empire's secret weapon, but incidentally caused a major diplomatic incident by killing several soldiers, while the Diana... game was VERY successful, with the players defeating the evil plan (but getting blown up, shot, and magicked repeatedly along the way) and apparently enjoying themselves.

I didn't do as much business I'd hoped, I suspect because a lot of people never found their way up to the slightly out-of-the way area where my table was set up - in particular not one registered user picked up a CD, which was a bit annoying. But I raised £31.73 before costs from selling only seven charity CDs and one copy of the Diana RPG - most of the people that bought the CDs paid more than the minimal £2, one guy gave ten pounds!

In view of everyone's generosity I've decided to forego the costs, as I usually do after conventions, since it really doesn't cost much to make and sell the CDs if I don't have to post them; this takes the total I've raised over the last four years to £1443.97, of which £1368 has been paid to Cancer Research UK. To keep the sums simple I'm going to put in a few more pounds to make it £1448, so as soon as I can raise another twenty pounds from registrations etc. I'll have £100 to give to the charity, enough to make the paperwork of a gift aid cheque worthwhile for them.

The auction did reasonably well, raising about £750, and I'm pleased to say that they seem to be going with my suggestion and giving the proceeds to Cancer Research UK. After that I was too tired to do anything except go home and crash out, and it's taken me four hours to summon up the energy to post this.

All I have to do now is get all of the registered users' CDs made and into the post, then I can relax... or could if I wasn't expecting a load of guests next Saturday, which means I'll have to clean up some of the squalor instead. Such is life.
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