To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
19 messages

Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings

10 May 02 - 02:02 PM (#708349)
Subject: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings
From: Amergin

This is a PermaThread™, intended to serve as an index to threads about gatherings of mudcatters, past and future. Amergin will coordinate the thread and I will do the editing work. Note that this is an edited thread, and all messages posted here may be moved, deleted, or edited.
-Joe Offer-

This was an idea that I put forth to Joe Offer about Mudcat Gatherings, the where, the when, and the contact information. If there are any gatherings you would like to add, please go ahead and let me know. Any ideas to help make this thread work would be just as welcome. The same goes for corrections...

Here are a few gatherings for starters:

Event: YorkShire Gathering

When: May 24th 2002

Where: George and Dragon Pub

Contact: Pm Mrs. Duck

Event: Junebug XL MudGathering PA

When: 6-10-02

Where: Wellsboro, PA

Contact: PM or email WYSIWYG @

Event: Pacific NorthWest Gathering

When: July 13-14 and August 24-25

Where: "Second Chance Ranch" Ellensburg, Washington, USA

Contact: PM JenEllen

10 May 02 - 02:09 PM (#708353)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings
From: MMario

What about links to past gathering-threads as well as a sorta historical perspective?

10 May 02 - 02:17 PM (#708361)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings
From: wysiwyg

I wish you had asked me first. If people use my contact infomation, for instance, as you have it above, the mail will not pass my spam filters (and will not get through unless they put MUDCAT GATHERING into the subject line of an e-mail). I also change information from Gathering to Gathering, and I would prefer to let each thread speak for itself rather than have to worry about updating a permathread.

These are so unique to the host and the location that I am not sure they can be much help in a permathread....

What I WOULD find useful in a permathread on them would be, "So, you want to host (or attend) a Gathering.... here are some tips and what to expect...."

I know I sound crabby and unappreciative, and I am not, just in a kinda rush to go do some stuff with Hardi today, and wanted to get my thoughts down before the thread runs away with us....


10 May 02 - 03:30 PM (#708402)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings
From: Midchuck

A de facto Mudcat Gathering:

Old Songs Festival: Last weekend in June, just SW of Albany, NY.


10 May 02 - 03:34 PM (#708404)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings
From: Amergin

Well the idea of the permathread was to kind of centralise the various gathering threads and to make them easier to find...and to prevent them from getting lost in the heap of everything else that goes on here...(if any of that makes any sense) see I was kind of afraid that those threads would get buried and people would miss the gatherings and such because they did not know about them...and of course this thread will continue to be updated....and each time a new gathering thread comes about...the event name (including a link to the originating thread) the where, the when and the contact information will be included....and taken down whenever the even has passed...

As for the email thing...I apologise...I know I should have asked first...but I just wasn't thinking...I like your idea on the tips for organising and hosting a gathering....

and I like MMario's idea about a list of links to past gatherings...

like I said this is a work in progress....

11 May 02 - 05:08 AM (#708721)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings
From: Joe Offer

I think most gatherings should have their own thread, and that this PermaThread should serve as an index to past and future gatherings. Maybe this thread should have a relatively short message to give general information about the gathering, but most of the information about the gathering should be in the other thread.
It's Amergin's baby, so he'll guide its development.
-Joe Offer-

11 May 02 - 08:53 AM (#708798)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings
From: MudGuard

I agree with Joe Offer, such a Permathread should just be an index - some of the gathering threads get pretty long on their own, if all this were to be put in just ONE thread, it would become unusable quite fast (look at the Stony Stratford threads or the Brussel ones to see what amount of posting they have).


11 May 02 - 11:10 AM (#708846)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings
From: wysiwyg

In my experience, what gets people to gatherings isn't the threads, it's the PM and e-mail invites where you treat each one you know of as a personal guest. That seems to tbe the only thing that counteracts worries about busyness, distance, weather, and am-i-good-enough and will-they-like-me. Even the ones who come because they first saw it in the thread seem to need a lot of encouragement to do it.

A way of helping with that, Amergin, would be that if you know people who could go to one and have not posted, ask the hosting member if you could give a hand messaging around. Or ask as soon as you see a new thread pop up. References to the the "Mudcat Gatherings SUCK!" thread would be a help, since a lot of people seemed to like that backwards approach to looking at these.

I know I would also really appreciate if you just refreshed the thread from time to time, asking me what's new, etc.

People who say they will come often say so in a PM or e-mail message-- and thus in the thread it can look like a short list of people coming, so others decide it's not worth the trip (unless they know the hosting member and just feel like a cozy visit). So keeping on us to say who has said they are coming can be a help, too, to keep momentum going.

I also really think that a reference thread about what works and doesn;t could be invaluable as more and more of these spring up. This thread would be a great place to collect them. It IS hard work getting ready for one, and skipping the useless jobs would be a great help!

This can also be a place to collect ideas for them, from people who have been doing them, or a place to ask potential participants what they'd like to see happen at them.

Sort of a "what are they, how do they work, what would we like to have happen, what's bad at them," and so forth.

Here is one-- I want to ask for a Mudcat donation at each gathering I have. Good idea? Why or why not?

We also discussed advance registration being requested-- pay a deposit that you can get back when you show up! Why? Because you get ready for all the people who say they HOPE to come, and then you have no idea if they ARE coming-- Mmario says this advance deposit thing has been a huge success in other settings, because if you pay five bucks for something you tend to take it more seriously and actually do what you need to do so that you CAN go. He says that it has worked so well that the money from non-attendees funds the costs of the whole thing! Those who attend get their money back, while those who don't-- pay for the beer! *G*

But I don't care how pesky they can be, these gatherings-- I won;t quit doing them! Too much fun to stop!


16 May 02 - 04:18 PM (#711830)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings
From: wysiwyg

Semi-standard BYO list for gatherings (YMMV):

Sleeping gear (sleeping bag, nesting materials, and so forth)
Cute jammies
Warm things to wear or wrap up in, even if it's not cold
Towel, washcloth, toiletries
Digital camera
Portable tape player or minidisc recorder
Your own folding chair (bring a sunhat)
Whatever day-starter you are addicted to (coffee in singles-packs, for example)
Snacky and sandwichy stuff, fingerfood varieties, and a disposable platter to set them out on. A platter or other serving item that has a see-through cover is ideal. If it isn't disposable, be sure you wash it yorself and get it back out to your car to keep the kitchen messes under control.
Cheeses cut up in cubes are always popular, with some crusty bread to tear off in chunks
Entrees: If you bring something that's pretty spicy, LABEL it when you set it out
Don't be offended if you bring something and it isn't set out right away-- the host may have a plan, and no one wants to see exactly the same buffet three days in a row. (Also there may just be TOO MUCH food, and believe me, your host will appreciate having an excuse not to cook for a coupla days after you all leave!) You might consider bringing some of it frozen in a container that can be used to nuke it when needed and/or left behind. Those semi-disposable Glad plastic boxes are GREAT for Gathering foods.
Bagged ice, paper goods and tinfoil are usually appreciated

REALLY HELPFUL-- if you are not sure what to bring, or if the trip will be long and you are concerned about stuff not staying fresh-- offer ahead of time to be the one that goes to the store once the rest of the stuff arrives, to fill in whatever seems lacking.

The whole food thing works effortlessly AS LONG AS THE KITCHEN IS POLICED EACH NIGHT BEFORE BEDTIME, including laying out the breakfast options or hanging signs on them in the fridge. Periodic preening of the buffet is helpful too, consoolidating stuff or adding new stuff, and icing anything that looks like it's on the MUST REFRIGERATE list. (That's where the bagged ice comes in-- put a pile in doubled plastic bags on top of a towel, and set the food container on it.)
The outdoors can get messy too. When outdoor picking ends, pickup.
Someone will need to police the smoking area too.
Someone will need to be sure a recycling area is set up and someone may need to deliver the items to the recycling center when things end.
Watch for people needing certain chairs, etc., and/or people with special physical needs. If you spot a need, hop to it, unobtrusively. Bring in someone's gear for them, or help them set up their sleeping spot, and so forth. These Catters can be pretty creaky and not say a word about it.

Most Mudcatters will do all this instinctively.... but this is a starting place if this kind of party is new to you. And it is always helpful-- if you plan on bringing something specific or doing one of these jobs-- let the host know ahead of time. The mental to-do list gets quite long.


16 May 02 - 07:46 PM (#711928)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings
From: Noreen

Just a note for those who haven't been to a Mudcat gathering:

The previous two posts are suggestions for WYSIWYG's style of gathering, and not a required format. Each gathering I have been to has been different, and none have borne much resemblance to the above.



16 May 02 - 09:11 PM (#711974)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings
From: wysiwyg

Yes, Noreen, that's what YMMV means, and why I said it. (Your mileage may vary.) BTW, half of that is based on suggestions from someone who started Gatherings long before anyone else, and I'm lucky I could benefit from her experience. The rest, from suggestions of people attending ours, as well as of course a couple of hundred parish events of similar scope and flavor.


17 May 02 - 10:19 AM (#712285)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings

Thanks for the clarification, Noreen

When I read WYSIWIG's view that there was a need to police the smoking area I decided that Mudcat Gatherings weren't for me.

I then wondered what sort of thing I'd be going to where: THE KITCHEN IS POLICED EACH NIGHT BEFORE BEDTIME


Lighten up a bit WYSIWYG

17 May 02 - 10:34 AM (#712293)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings
From: MMario

Common courtesy for smokers to pick up after themselves; and likewise both common courtesy and common sense to clean up the kitchen before people retire for the night. since that is all "policing" refers to it hardly seems to be a bone of contention.

17 May 02 - 10:52 AM (#712301)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings
From: wysiwyg

Are we having a little cross-cultural misunderstanding here? "To police" the area just means to clean it up! What did you THINK it meant????

Yeah, I use a whip and chains on MudGatherers! I'm sure they'll tell you that!


17 May 02 - 10:56 AM (#712304)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings
From: wysiwyg

Oooh, and when Hardi weed-whacks the yard, what, is that a contract hit?

~The Lightened One

17 May 02 - 11:02 AM (#712308)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings
From: Amergin

"Yeah, I use a whip and chains on MudGatherers!"

I am sure you do, Susan....some folks like that sort of thing though....BG

Nasty comments are not allowed in this thread,Guest....

i will get back to organising the thread and everything...this weekend when time permits...

Oh and Susan....thanks....

19 May 02 - 04:06 PM (#713641)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings
From: wysiwyg

Amergin, I thought about it further, and obviously the weed-whacking is about catching and punishing pot smokers, because as you must know we are rigidly and rightly religious around here at our little house of control and oppression. *G*


19 May 02 - 04:17 PM (#713649)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings


Apologies if I said anything nasty, that wasn't my intention.

Yes I did misunderstand the term 'police' and I totally agree with Mmario's views regarding 'common courtesy'

However, I'd always assumed that these were supposed to be enjoyable, laid back things.

Making lots of rules, to my mind, negates that somewhat

19 May 02 - 04:31 PM (#713657)
Subject: RE: Permathread: Mudcat Gatherings
From: wysiwyg

What you see is what you get. If you choose to see rules in a summary of what I observed participants doing, go right ahead, but it's silly.

What I would ask that you think about is that "laid back and enjoyable" for participants means the host has worked hard to be sure it can go smoothly with that attitude. Just because it's invisible during the a Gathering doesn't mean they haven't done much to be ready and aren't working pretty hard during the event, no matter how helpful the participants are.

Hold one and you will soon see that you appreciate the information I provided, which was requested in another thread, and which nearly every person who has attended our Gatherings has asked me via e-mail or PM.

I'm making a point of this for a reason, not to "get back at" you, Guest. It's this simple: no one who is willing to host a Mudcat ANYTHING, of any variety, should get any crap, about any aspect of it, from anyone. Or pretty soon no one will want to host them anymore.