Yes, it is I again, Chairman Bill, the TCASU equivalent of a dodgy Californian Governor!

As I write, the con is only three panic-filled days away. Or two if you count the pre-con events taking place in Dublin on Thursday evening.

Yes, there's a lot of good quality panic to be had right about now. Anyone who's ever been involved in the running of a convention will know what it's like... Frantic late-night phone calls. Huge e-mails. Much running around with scissors and tape. Wondering whether we have enough staples. Manic discussions about the program items ("You want to do WHAT!?"). Incredibly long drives on unfamiliar Irish roads to the remotest outposts deep in the heart of bandit country (Clondalkin, in other words). Long, interesting arguments with the telephone people about why, exactly, it's not possible to get a broadband modem up and running in a reasonable amount of time. Wide-ranging and detailed "discussions" with the spouse along the lines of "What do you mean you don't think you're going to be at the con?"

This last one came as a bit of a surprise. "The house is in pieces," said Katie, "we've got far too much to do as it is, without both of us disappearing for a week!"

"Well, you'll come along for at least some of it, right?"

"I might. But then I might be too busy doing all the things around the house that you said you'd do last week, and the week before. And the week before that, too."

She's right, though... Somehow, I expected that emigrating to Ireland (or do I mean immigrating?) would be a lot simpler. We had somewhere to live, we had our jobs lined up. We had enough money to keep us going for a few months. And I knew I wasn't expected to start work until after the con, which would give me more than enough time to get the house in order.

Or so I thought. But it turns out that Ireland is not like America. You can't just go to the local hardware store and buy everything you need in one go. No, you go to the local hardware store where you can be told that they don't have what you want in stock, but it's due in next Wednesday. Maybe. Even buying a handsaw was more trouble than it should have been...

Me: "I want to buy a handsaw."

Assistant: "Okay... What are you building?"

Me: "What difference does that make? I just want a saw!"

Assistant: "I see... Is this, like, for a house or a flat or what?"

Me: "Forget it."

Later, in another hardware store...

Me: "Hi, I'd like to buy a handsaw."

Assistant: "Right. Well, what are you trying to do?"

Me: "I'm trying to buy a handsaw."

Assistant: "No, I mean, what are you making?"

Me: "I'm building an ark."

Assistant: "Oh."

Me: "Oh?"

Assistant: "We don't have handsaws for building an ark."

Me: "I might need to put up shelves as well."

Assistant: "Ah, now there I can help you! What color saw are you looking for?"

Me: "I don't mind, as long as it doesn't clash with my spaceship."

But I digress... Back in the real world, we're doing con-running stuff like crazy. Everything is going well, thankfully. We've got confirmations from all the guests, we've got all the literature printed and ready to go. We've got gifts for everyone (it's Sproutlore's tenth birthday, remember?) and we're all set for a wild and crazy time. Assuming that we don't all die of panic-induced stress-related disorders, that is.

Bill Tyler, Chairman
21st October 2003

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