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The Atomic meet FAQ
Saponification 
13/12/05 9:54:13 PM
SuperHero
Immortal


With summer upon us, there's no better time to get Atomicans together and observe pasty skin being fried in the sunlight. While many a meet is organised by experienced... organsier people, some aren't. In fact, if you've never done it before it can be all rather intimidating. So here's a few simple guidelines. Boys and girls who've done it before, feel free to add anything that comes to mind.

The basics

Do I have what it takes to organise a meet?

Sure. Most types of meets can be organised by anyone - you don't need to be a hero or superhero. If people like the idea and they can get to it, they'll come along. In theory.

Despite what you might think, anyone is free to attend and organise meets. That said, it's probably best to leave the organising to others until you've attended a few so you have some idea of what people are like.

Social connections are great and, to be honest, almost essential. Chat to people in your area on a regular basis - if you run a meet, they'll be the ones attending and helping out. If you're new to the scene, you'll also be able to run ideas past them. Chances are, if you've thought of it, someone else has before and they'll be able to tell you whether or not the idea is likely to be a goer or will need more consideration.

What sort of meet should I do?

In the past, there have been successful meets of all description. The easiest is probably a pub meet - pick a pub, find a time that's good for everyone and reserve a dingy corner. That said, pub meets aren't for everyone - some don't enjoy the environment and some can't get in due to age restrictions. Keep all this in mind.

There's also BBQs, which are best left to summer when the weather is less unpredictable. BBQs aren't all that difficult to organise, but catering can be a headache: it's very easy to over cater, as the Melbourne crowd will no doubt no.

There's LANs of course, but they're a pain to organise and to be honest they're not very social: people tend to rock up, plug their computers in and spend their weekend leaching TV shows and porn.

Other ideas that have worked before include car rallies, paintball shoot-outs and restaurants.

Essentially, you can turn almost anything into a meet: just make sure the target audience is there, that it's accessible and that people can afford it. Not everyone here drives and not everyone can afford to spend big bucks a night out.

Where should I organise a meet?

Somewhere that's accessible, it's as simple as that. Before settling on a location, consider transport. Not everyone drives and train systems can and do suffer from problems. Ideally the place you pick should be in the CBD (assuming you're aiming for the city crowd) rather than in one of the suburbs - everyone can get to it easily by taking a train straight in, rather than having to hop between platforms and what not.

Parks, pubs and the like should be within walking distance of train stations. Opinions of what equates to walking distance differs, but let's just say a kilometre. Even that's a bit far for some people, for others, including myself, it's nothing. Bonus marks are awarded for having nearby bus, tram and ferry stops. Again, the easier it is to get to, the better.

If you're having a BBQ or some such at a park, make sure BBQ facilities are avaliable. Street-Directory.com.au has a handy little key that tells you which parks are armed with gas-powered meat-cooking goodness and which aren't.

It almost need not be said, but if people are going to get pissed at your meet than easy public transport access is essential.

And finally, if a location has worked in the past, stick to it. Melbournites have quickly learned to favour Batman Park for BBQs, for example - it does everything we want it to do, it's accessible, it's reasonably sheltered.

Be sure to check out all meet locations before confirming them.

When should I organise a meet?

There's a bunch of factors here. First off, the summer is good: it's lighter at night (ideal if your meet is to be an evening effort), it's warmer and more people are around, meaning those on trains will have less reason to feel nervous at night.

Remember that the closer things are to Christmas, the less likely you are to get people attending. That's why the Christmas BBQs are usually in early to mid December as opposed to late December.

Once you have a date, however, stick to it. Don't put a date down until it's confirmed. Only change if there's a really good reason.

Also, be careful if there's another meet in close proximity. When things are too close together, they often don't work out... unless their compliment each other: for example, going to dinner before a pub meet.

Remember that if you organise something for the day after a piss-up, don't have it in the morning: there will probably be a lot of people with very sore heads who'll be more interested in battling the army of sunlight streaming in their bedroom window than going out to socialise.

Finally, we come to the day and night issue. They both have their disadvantanges. Nights allow a lot of people who work to go without having to take time off, but they also make for tiredness and some people simply aren't cool with taking the train at that time. During the day public transport is a lot more friendly, but it also means those who can't get time off or who are psychotically busy on the weekends may not be able to attend.

The days of the week thing is a tad more obvious - Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are good. Plusplus to Saturday and Sunday. Remember that people won't be able to drink as much on a Sunday, however, meaning it might not be a good day for a piss-up.

As the day draws near, keep an eye on the weather. BOM.gov.au will help you out there, providing forecasts, radar images and what not. Bear in mind that long range forecasts aren't very accurate.

How do I organise a meet?

So far it's all been pretty simple, but this is where a meet can be a great success or die in the arse. Okay, first off, find out if there's interest. Post a thread explaining what you want to do. If you're new to the game and haven't been to meets of the same ilk before, it's fine to let people suggest locations and what not... but really, if you don't know anything about that sort of thing, you're probably best off handing over the reigns to someone else. Give people a rough time (i.e. early April, mid March, late December) and let them work from there, but be prepared to put your foot down and say, "Okay, this is what we're doing." Someone will always be unhappy. Make sure you post about the meet about a month before - don't leave it to the last minute, but don't tell people half a year ahead so they forget. If you want to organise a big LAN, however, you'll want to let people know really early so you can get some helper monkeys onboard.

Once you have a time and location sorted, work on the attendance list. You'll need a rough idea of numbers if you have to cater or book for anything, so bully people into telling you if they're confirmed or just a maybe. It's a good idea to keep a list that you edit on a regular basis in the main post. Make sure people let you know about any change in status as soon as possible.

When it gets closer to the date, trade contact details with anyone who seems to have their head screwed on the right way or who has proved useful in helping with the organisation process - if it all goes pear-shaped at the last minute, you might need their help.

If you're going somewhere that can't be booked such as a park, be sure to have one or two people there early, ensuring that you get BBQs, seating or whatever you're after. Make sure you have the contact details of these people... in fact, as the organiser, this sort of thing should really be your responsibility.

Specifics

BBQs

Ah, the humble BBQ... there's nothing like burning the shit out of dead animal on a mass basis. BBQ meets are great, especially during the warmer months... other times of the year, the weather is a bit less predictable.

The major thing with organising a BBQ is catering. That's the only major hurdle, really. Once you have a rough idea of who is going, ask people if they can supply stuff. Not only will you need people to bring meat, drinks, bread and the like, but you'll also need someone to bring tongs, cutlery, oil and so forth. Such things are often over-looked. It's a good idea to make sure someone brings a portable BBQ, that way if the BBQs supplied are dodgy or taken, at least cooking can still take place.

Try and give these jobs to people who seem to know their shit. Also, make sure you're in contact with all of them and have a few reserves lined up - if someone calls up the night before saying they can't bring the chicken, it shouldn't be a case of panic stations.

Numbers-wise, catering is hard. It's very easy to over-cater. That said, make sure you cater for everyone who said they can come plus a little bit extra - it doesn't look good and it's often expensive to run to a city supermarket to grab some more stuff.

Three to four pieces of meat per person would be about right, however. Having three sausages and other stuff is bad - just have three pieces in general. Also be sure to ask about any special requirements people have - if enough people request something like vegeburgers, it might be worth adding to them shopping list.

To distribute costs evenly, have those who bring only themselves slip the suppliers a bit of cash. In practice, this works out to a couple to five dollars each - next to nothing, basically. Ideally the suppliers should walk away with all their money back - after all, they were kind enough to pick up the goods and transport them. It might be a good idea to have people pay as they arrive.

When it comes to piss, it's a risky business. People will want it, but it depends on the laws: you're not allowed to drink in public places. At night it's easy enough to make it disappear, but be careful if it's during the day and the cops like to walk through the place.

In terms of time, BBQs are good on Saturday evenings or Sunday lunch times. Lunch efforts are great when transport is factored in - public transport is a lot friendlier at that time and those who have to drive great distances won't be going home in the dark at ungodly AM.

And finally, location. While there are some great places around, you're pretty much limited to locations in the CBD of your city of choice. They're the most accessible. While many Atomicans will kindly offer lifts, it's not ideal to have people relying on each other and not everyone is keen on jumping in a car with someone they've never met.

Make sure your park has BBQs. Check on Street-Directory.com.au and have someone who lives or works nearby inspect the area, especially if you've never had a meet there before.

On the day, be sure to get there nice and early to secure the BBQ area... and for the love of all things holy, keep the meat nice and cold and out of the bloody sun.

Pubs

Following in the steps of the great and elusive trev99, I took it upon myself to quench the Melbourne Atomic Community's thirst for many a cold beer; and so it was done in the tradition of the Beerathon.

But Manny, surely it's not THAT hard to organize a meet at a pub? Let's all get pissed right?

What's that I hear you say? Unfortunately that is not the case, as I learnt the first few times of getting everyone together. There are indeed a few factors that come into play.

Now choosing the venue for Beerathon really wasn't hard to do, as traditionally it would be at Puggs Mahones; but as a word of advice to organizers from the other states, you have to look at a few things when it comes to picking a place to down those ales.

- Size: There's over 40,000 of us here, so when need be we can gather up many a budding geek to collectively get pissed. By estimate (when I was mucho drunko) the crowd's at Beerathon v8 were up near the 80 mark. Even then, Puggs was beginning to look like a can of sardines.

- Bookings: This one has been a pain in the preverbial backside in the past. As some of you may well know, Puggs usually required a booking and whilst caught up in all the excitement, little ol' me forgot to book ahead. Now thankfully the place of choice usually isn't kicking on a Friday night so we had the bottom floor to ourselves, but it can really bring down a night if your trying to explain to your fellow geek why Stargate is indeed greater than the OC whilst trying to weave through a large and drunken crowd. (In reality this topic should never come up as it is a given that Stargate will always trounce all over that piece of shit teenage angst drama :P) All in all, ring up the place before hand and see if they are expecting a crowd, and if they are.. BOOK AHEAD! Which leads me to my next point, some places will even require a deposit (Beerathon v8 was $200, refundable but quite an outlay nonetheless!)

- Drinks: Until recently I didn't think this was a problem, until The Barleycorn (where ASL play) do not like to have their taps operating on a night where the band is playing, obviously this is due to some sort of profit making venture which forces the crowd to buy $7 stubbies. Pain in the arse much this can be! So before you go choosing your venue, research the place and make sure they have a wide selection of beers on tap, ready for the consumption!

- Food: Not really that much of a hassle, but a few plates of wedges or other finger food never go astray. Especially when half pissed. Always an added bonus to get that greasy food down your gullet to try and prevent the after-drinks hangover :P

- Outdoor facilities: During this time of the year, Beer Gardens are the shiznit. Nobody want's to be sitting inside in 30C weather; yet on the flipside, if a Beer Garden is all you have.. shivering your arse off is not a pleasant feeling either. If it's Winter, try and pick a place that has those funky overhead heaters.

- Music: Tunes to get down and funky with always provide a better atmosphere. Hell, if you've had enough to drink you might even be up for a boogie! (Ain't that right Moz and Fredzfrog? ;)) Music over the PA is good, live bands are great (yes arent they? :P) but you have to pick the right stuff to fit the crowd.

- Date: When trying to pick a date, provide 2 or so dates and give about a month's notice so people can organise time off work and such. Generally in this situation, majority rules, you can't please everyone unfortunately.

That's all I can really think of at the moment, if there's spelling or grammar mistakes let me know.. this was knocked up in about 10mins at 3am :D So go forth and spread the alcoholic loving, but just be sure to plan ahead. If you do that I'm sure you'll be in for a ripper of a night.

PS: Oh yeah, CAMERAS! Someone needs evidence of all this chicanery that went down. :D

LANs

Here's a guide compiled by Lambo.

http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/forums.asp?s=1&c=5&t=272

Other (i.e. car rallies, paint ball)

Well, here's my tips (although a bit late)

Events like Race Around Atomic take quite a bit of planning, so if you're thinking about doing something a bit different, be sure to plan ahead, and be comitted to a couple of months of hard work pre-event.

Tip No. 1 - Commit yourself and plan ahead


Legwork is also important, as is an understanding of the proposed race route. You need to sit down with a UBD, Melways or whatever, and carefully plan your race route, keeping in mind the expected time it would take for you to cover the distance. Before you even reach this point, you'll need to decide upon a start and finish point.

Once the race route has been planned, you need to test it. I advise you involve your staff with the test drive, and use that day to collaborate ideas etc. This day will also set the benchmark time to ensure people don't cheat. If they come in under time, they've cheated.

Tip No. 2 - Decide on the start and finish first, plan the route on a map, and test it by driving the course


Next thing you'll need is staff. Volunteers from atomic will come thick and fast if you ask. The first event was run with 4 staff, but after experiencing that day, I would've much preferred 6. Ya live and learn.

Tip No. 3 - Hire help


There'll be much gathering of information, creating trivia questions and the like. You can't do it all yourself (reason for the above point) so you need to learn how to delegate. Don't be afraid to assign tasks to your team of volunteers. It will make everyone's job easier, and provide a better team environment.

Tip No. 4 - Delegate responsibility and tasks


Rules. Every event like this needs rules. Chances are there'll be reputations on the line, and prizes to claim. Rules need to be posted from the outset, and not changed once posted. There can be no waivering from the rules, so if you need to disqualify someone, despite them being your 'good mate', then do it. Continuity is what's required.

Tip No. 5 - Make your rules and stick to 'em


Looking professional is always good, especially if you want people to show up again next year. I chose to deck out my team in shirts and bucket hats with an RAA logo on them. The guys also had the instruction to act like US ARMY drill Sargents that day, keeping a stone expression for all competitors. Kinda adds to the feel of the day.

Tip No. 6 - Look and act professional


As a final suggestion, don't be afraid to ask for prize donations. In running this event, I went straight for the jugular and aksed Ben to see what he could do. I must be clear that I didn't specifically ask for any one thing, just a contribution. The 'humble' reply was basically..."Sorry Noddy. All I can do is a 12 month sub for each team member on the winning team". Kinda brilliant when all I was expecting was perhaps a few stickers :P~~

Tip No. 7 - scope out some prizes (if you're running a comp)

In summary

Hopefully this has inspired you to organise a meet or has at least given you some idea of what's involved. In reality, they're not that hard to do... provided you keep a level head and have some idea of what needs to be done. Remember that it's up to you to make sure people know what's going on and to get things moving logistics-wise.

Good luck and have fun.

Links, resources, et al

http://www.bom.gov.au/
http://www.street-directory.com.au/
http://www.visitmelbourne.com/

Contributors

Felipe, Bastard Child, Fruck The System, Lambo, Lancer2k, nodnerb


Edited by Saponification: 18/1/2006 6:54:43 AM

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Support Waffle In, Waffle On. St. Leonards, Sydney. Fight the power of Oportos breakfast!

Quote by Lambo

I seem to have misplaced my pants.



Felipe 
13/12/05 10:10:15 PM
Hero
Guru


I would like to add the following for consideration aswell:

Having a good social connections is good also. This includes emails, mobile numbers and MSN lists.

Bear in mind that a lot of people are restrained by budgets, so try and keep things cheap and simple.

If having an outdoors event, check http://www.bom.gov.au website regularly for weather forecasts. It is also a good idea to have a backup plan (in case it rains).

The hardest thing is to come up with an excuse to have a meet.


FX.

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"Computers can never replace Human stupidity."

"Digital information lasts forever - or five years, whichever comes first."

Saponification 
13/12/05 10:15:50 PM
SuperHero
Immortal


Thanks for that.

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Support Waffle In, Waffle On. St. Leonards, Sydney. Fight the power of Oportos breakfast!

Quote by Lambo

I seem to have misplaced my pants.



Bastard_Child 
13/12/05 10:16:54 PM
Banned

BBQ payment tip: Bring a jar with a lid, and ask people to put money into it AS THEY ARRIVE.

Stops pikers from leaving early without contributing, and shames people into paying ('sorry I forgot to pay' is poor form lads).


B.C.

(mods g0t sticky?)

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Come back soon Gir http://tinyurl.com/dl2x9 my av pic reflects my mood :'(

Free sex... http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/forums.asp?s=1&c=5&t=1357

Saponification 
13/12/05 10:26:31 PM
SuperHero
Immortal


Duly added.

And I've reported it for stickiness. We'll see.

-----
Support Waffle In, Waffle On. St. Leonards, Sydney. Fight the power of Oportos breakfast!

Quote by Lambo

I seem to have misplaced my pants.



fatalerror323 
13/12/05 10:40:35 PM
Champion

I vote STICKY!!!

Nice going there Sap!

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"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science"
-- A. Einstein

BRING BACK TEH JUGGS!!

Saponification 
13/12/05 10:43:53 PM
SuperHero
Immortal


If you want a sticky, report it.

-----
Support Waffle In, Waffle On. St. Leonards, Sydney. Fight the power of Oportos breakfast!

Quote by Lambo

I seem to have misplaced my pants.



fatalerror323 
13/12/05 11:48:34 PM
Champion

Done...

-----
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science"
-- A. Einstein

BRING BACK TEH JUGGS!!

nitro.vo 
14/12/05 12:23:30 AM
Hero
Titan


Great thread. GG

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nitro.vo does Sydney/Newcastle pt II Dec 9th - Jan 15th

Atomic's very own resident MetallicA fanboy & James Whore.

Member of the Atomic Metal Militia \m/

Fruck Tha System 
14/12/05 2:08:31 AM
Guru

Sap consider yourself PM'd.

Manny

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Post of The Year Nominations: 2 (from trev99 and aioth)

GET THE FUCK OFF MY INTERNET!

C|sco 
14/12/05 2:42:10 AM
Hero
Guru


nothing to contribute but just wanted to say good job, keep it up! :)

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And now I'm occupied with anything to stay alive...
Will you blame me when I'm gone?

nodnerb 
14/12/05 4:51:14 AM
Hero
Fairy Princess


I'm about to nick off for work Sap. I might not get to this thread until tonight, but I'll chuck in some stuff on more complex events like RAA. Might be helpful.



[reserved for further comment]

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w0cka w0cka

SHARKIES 2006
http://www.sharks.com.au/

Mac Dude 
14/12/05 6:16:24 AM
Mod
Hero

Immortal


You forgot to put in "If I can organise one, ANYONE can"

:)

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if i think of something, I'll let you know...

Saponification 
14/12/05 6:52:26 AM
SuperHero
Immortal


Show me the sticky!

Oh and more content added.

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Support Waffle In, Waffle On. St. Leonards, Sydney. Fight the power of Oportos breakfast!

Quote by Lambo

I seem to have misplaced my pants.



seehund 
14/12/05 9:08:34 AM
Titan

Quote by Saponification
Show me the sticky!



Wrong thing to ask for...he he he

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Saponification 
14/12/05 9:27:43 AM
SuperHero
Immortal


Quote by seehund
Quote by Saponification
Show me the sticky!



Wrong thing to ask for...he he he



I'll have my sausage with extras, thanks.

-----
Support Waffle In, Waffle On. St. Leonards, Sydney. Fight the power of Oportos breakfast!

Quote by Lambo

I seem to have misplaced my pants.



seehund 
14/12/05 10:03:24 AM
Titan

Quote by Saponification
Quote by seehund
Quote by Saponification
Show me the sticky!



Wrong thing to ask for...he he he



I'll have my sausage with extras, thanks.



Roger, one "hotdog" with "relish" coming right up...he he he

-----
People on Seehund's Keelhaulin' List: Gharphield...and morris, the bitch
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http://www.wordlookup.net/ke/keelhauling.html
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<morris> Is there anyone who doesn't have a photo of my crotch?

Saponification 
14/12/05 10:26:29 AM
SuperHero
Immortal


Quote by seehund
Quote by Saponification
Quote by seehund
Quote by Saponification
Show me the sticky!



Wrong thing to ask for...he he he



I'll have my sausage with extras, thanks.



Roger, one "hotdog" with "relish" coming right up...he he he



I hope it's beef.

-----
Support Waffle In, Waffle On. St. Leonards, Sydney. Fight the power of Oportos breakfast!

Quote by Lambo

I seem to have misplaced my pants.



seehund 
14/12/05 10:43:43 AM
Titan

Quote by Saponification
Quote by seehund
Quote by Saponification
Quote by seehund
Quote by Saponification
Show me the sticky!



Wrong thing to ask for...he he he



I'll have my sausage with extras, thanks.



Roger, one "hotdog" with "relish" coming right up...he he he



I hope it's beef.



Yup...100% pure Aussie Man-Meat :p

-----
People on Seehund's Keelhaulin' List: Gharphield...and morris, the bitch
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http://www.wordlookup.net/ke/keelhauling.html
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<morris> Is there anyone who doesn't have a photo of my crotch?

Lambo 
14/12/05 11:13:53 AM
Hero
Immortal


Nice sap, nice...

/me chants STICKY

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Support Waffle In, Waffle On. St. Leonards, Sydney. Fight the power of Oportos breakfast!

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