Thug me This!

We're starting to get more offers from people to become one of the beloved Parking Thugs. We are extremely grateful for the support. We think it's wonderful, but before anyone gets excited about joining the Thugs, you need to know what you're in for. It's a bit like dating Harley Quinn. Sure she looks crazy-fun but you know it's going to hurt somehow, and you're thinking, yeah, it would still be worth the stitches. We definitely need volunteers, however we're looking for long-term help and it's a special kind of person who becomes a Thug.

We do our best to make it a good time for the volunteers who are affectionally known as the Parking Thugs. Among the Thugs, there is lots of joking, lots of kidding around with each other and the radio chatter is on the complete opposite end of PC. We are never going to change that to accommodate someone's sensitivities. It's why we wear ear pieces, but it's funny stuff.

This is an all-volunteer group from top to bottom. Nobody is paid to be here so if we're not having fun, there are no Thugs. Without the Thugs, there is no event, so we place very high value on the role and the fun we have together. We go out of our way to make each other laugh and have a good time while there is a lot of racing around the lots at the same time. It's like running a marathon with comedians while holding feral cats. You're also running while sometimes dodging people, objects, and most of all, really, really, bad jokes. If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a Thug.

The Thugs are a culture by themselves and we don't want it to ever change. It's the very foundation of E@RTC and that energy is what keeps it fun every week. If you suffer from a restricted sense of humor, by order of your doctor, this is definitely not the place to volunteer. Personality matters a lot to us.

Here is what the role requires. First, you have to know something about cars and know what car should go where and why. This means dragging your butt out of bed very early on a Saturday morning for a meeting before we start. Not just one or two Saturdays, but every Saturday that weather permits. Sure some need vacation here and there, but if you can't show up because you don't feel 'it' that morning, you're not what we're looking for.

We don't just park cars, we sort them in a way to make them appealing to photos so you have to think fast when 400 cars show up that all have to go to the right spot in the right order and get set up so they all look nice. You have to deal with a lot of people and there are a few with issues who aren't all that nice sometimes. Most are great people, but we have a few with a sense of entitlement that require constraint as we won't let them ruin it for the others. Now and then we kick someone out if they get out of hand as we have zero tolerance for rude people at the event. We send them to a parking lot in Moclips, commonly known as "Lot 9." We also give them their no-money back for showing up. We've been like this since Harry Truman was a volunteer. This is where the whole "buck stops here" thing started, except there was never a buck. We think he meant Buick.

You have to be willing to engage with people, remember their names, what other cars they bring or even what cars spectators came to see and make them feel welcome. It's not just participants who we do our best to make feel welcome, we also remember spectators who come out every week and thank them too for their participation and support.

This is really important. You can't just stand there and not make the effort to engage with people. If you're not outgoing and capable of carrying on a conversation, this is not the right thing for you. This however, is a great chance to make friends for life, and someone you meet could change it forever, and most likely for the better. Think of the role as kind of a party host in a parking lot where you help land cars in the right spot for the best possible viewing just for fun. We don't "park" cars, and we're definitely not, nor will we ever be a valet service or parking lot attendants. We're ambassadors. The Thugs are our core and the image means something to us.

The role requires a lot of running or very fast walking, often backwards at times, and so you're worn out when the event is over. You definitely burn off a few calories and will be exhausted by the time you get home. We're looking for people who are reliable who we can count on each Saturday morning during our season. The continuity matters to those who come to see us so we try and make sure the same faces are there to help out. You also pay "rent" for your E@RTC shirt so we can keep them maintained and in supply. We also supply the radios, and headsets and cheap laughs. We can't afford good ones. Good cheer is a must. 

We get a lot of people from out of town who have a lot of great questions and so having the ability to talk about local activities or help with directions, etc., is very important. Some drive all night to get here so they need to be pointed towards coffee. Some fly in just for our event and we want it to always be well worth the journey. 

We could also use some help behind the scenes. There is always plenty to do. Just answering questions on our website takes hours each week, in spite of all the answers that are all right there on our site. We'd love to see more written content so we welcome contributors.

If we've not scared you into a corner of your basement, drop us a note and Jason will get back to you. Thank you for your interest as it means a lot to us, (excuse the painful pun).

We're on for Saturday, May 27! (and Other Amusing Stuff)

This, in a way is our opening of our regular lot, so it's sort of a mini celebration of opening day, so come out and happy-dance your way around some cars! The weather will be spectacular! We're expecting somewhere between 300-400 cars so it should be a good time. It's easier to manage and see all the cars when they are together in the main lot. So, if you walk into center circle expecting to see cars, don't be broken-hearted, we're just over by BJs where we normally are each season. We know the new NSX will be there and there are some cool cars not yet seen are expected to show up from some private collections. We have a lot going on this season and every Saturday will be something special.

Amusing Stuff- Sort Of

We're also starting to get some trolls on our website in response to our blog. We find some entertainment value in it, but not a ton. It's a little like watching someone slip holding soup. We started out allowing anonymous posts, but when they started to spoof other names we switched to verification-required and that was like nailing their foot to the floor. We left a few posts up because we thought it would be good if people knew what we deal with sometimes.

What's so mystifying to us is, this is a free event! We make it up in volume. (old joke) What happens when they don't get the right juice box? I can't even imagine the tantrum! E@RTC costs them nothing! Yet, they make demands on us like Nick said, "They are yelling at there moms from the basement for more lasagna." We do have some sympathy because we couldn't possibly know their situation. It could be something no more complicated than they can't bring that special someone home to meet mom until the ankle monitor comes off. Maybe they ran out of prune juice. Or they could just be really unhappy people who need everyone else to be just as unhappy and miserable as they are. Who knows. It's what good therapists and pills are for...and a Happy Meal.

We'd love real feedback, the kind with a real name and email address and stuff. We always want to improve. Yet, we still have to deal with issues like this now and then, so we post about it. When we post something about someone trying to mischaracterize us and we fight back, we're doing so because we think it's our job to preserve the event; not get bogged down in drama, while still taking care of business. Imagine how quickly we'd collapse under our own weight if we never did anything to protect E@RTC, or refine our work and even defend it at times. Having a car event is one thing, sustaining it is another.

Some forget that E@RTC is all done with thoughtful, courageous, and occasionally handsome volunteers, (there are a few of us who look better under a hot towel). We couldn't do it without all of you wonderful people who take the time to participate, both as participants and spectators. We're all extremely grateful, humbled even, to have your trust, and that's our focus, living up to your expectations and not get too wrapped up in this stuff, especially when people hide their identities. Besides, it's usually a clue they are on the wrong side of an issue. Sure we have have the power to delete and block everyone from commenting on the site, but it's important for you to know these people are out there.

On the subject, we've long thought about how to best share what we've learned about building these events. So many think there isn't a lot that goes on to make this happen, but there is. What, you think Cirque du Soleil is just a bunch of people dancing and swinging around on meth? There is real work required to twist like that. It takes more than a car accident. They spend thousands of hours working to be that bendy so they can eat a grape off their own butts to music.

The number of car show failures is probably 100X the success stories. We'd love to see others out there be equal successful and we've spent the time sharing what we've learned to those who want to follow our unique recipe. We've even visited their events to offer tips. Most don't follow it, then flop, then blame the audience of all things, which is again like blaming mom when you live in the basement.

The point is, the trolls try to rile us up when we're doing our job, but all they do is give us some behind the scenes entertainment. We know who they are, we don't want to say how we know, but we know, even when they post with a different name. :) Yup, we know.

Diver Dave came across this great article that we thought we'd share with you that's worth passing along to others. It's about car show etiquette and it's called How Not To Be A Jerk: The 10 Commandments of Car Show Etiquette. We're going to add it to our site somewhere. We have remarkably few problems, but once in a while, like our blog, we get a true narcissist who makes everyone's life miserable and it's our job to keep them from ruining a great thing. See you all Saturday!

Oh-Oh! Someone Stepped in It!

We all know the term. That and check your shoe, something stinks. Well, someone did just that. Except they may not be smart enough to know it yet and they are tracking it all over their house.

One of the most important things we do as volunteers is work to preserve our brand. We spend far more hours on our brand than what you see us do on the days of our event. That work goes on year-around. This means pulling all the elements that work together to create a specific image in your head when you think of us. Hopefully it's positive stuff and not something you see a therapist about that requires pills. Having a strong brand is in part what causes the right elements to come together to make our event so special, week after week. If we screw up our brand, the event could go away, so we're meticulous about it, maniacal even! Little things, such as how we write on this site is all done with both fun and purpose in mind. (I know that's hard to believe.)

It was brought to our attention through a call on the super-secret red phone that someone out there decided to make a name for themselves by creating a Facebook name close enough to ours that it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, like sand in the massage oil. When our fans alert us to bad stuff, they tend to be right and we sure listen up. 

These self-absorbed and whimsically short-sighted individuals who piggyback off our brand don't think or even care about what we built for you or the thousands of hours of volunteer time to make a great community event. Instead, they selfishly want to tear off a piece of our brand to make it about them. We know it happens with every great brand- someone comes along to try and create just enough Web or Facebook search confusion for their own personal gain. There are hundreds of millions spent on lawyers every year in such matters and the defenders of these brands most often win.

"Brand-bumming" (a term we coined ourselves) creates parasitic drag on everything we do at the ultimate expense of you in the car community. Now we have to spend even more of our own money to protect our brand, dollars and time that could be spent on improving the event for the benefit of everyone. The point is, this doesn't just hurt us as an organization, it hurts you too.

We've kindly asked this individual to change their page name, sort of as the first question on the intelligence test. We'll see if they pass or not so stay tuned for those results.

 

British Car Day & Moving Your Car When the Event Ends!

Pick Up Your Toys!

Do you remember when your mom would tell you to pick up your toys and you wouldn't do it? She'd tell you in her sweet voice five or six times before she'd run over to the local large equipment rental shop and come back with a giant Caterpillar CCS9 Combination Asphalt Compactor and neatly lay out all your toys in the driveway, including that Gilbert chemistry set with the 106 deadliest chemicals known to man, "Breaking Bad in a Box" then spend her one hour rental time with a cigar hanging out the corner of her mouth flattening your toys into tiny slivers then sprinkle them on your bed with a snow shovel. Remember? That wasn't very nice of mom, but she only had to do that three times before we got the message. We grew up learning to pick up our toys!

We're all grown up now and when 11:00 AM hits at Redmond Town Center, we too have to pick up our toys and if we don't they will do the same thing our moms did. Only this time RTC will send the roller equipment rental charge back to you, along with your Lamborghini in six beautifully wrapped boxes from RTC. All of this can easily be avoided if you simply move your car into a parking stall somewhere at the mall like everyone else. I know I'd hate come home to a bed covered in pulverized Lamborghini dust, especially if it wasn't my car.

Simple rule, when the event ends, move your car into a nice stall so shoppers don't think you're extra special. They much appreciate it.

(You don't want to know what mom did if we didn't pick up our clothes.)

British Car Day

We had another marvelous turnout on British Car Day and some astounding cars were there in center court. We had everything from three wheel Morgans to some nice McLarens. The weather was perfect and we were again close to full. It was a perfect day at E@RTC!

Once again, the British car owners were extremely polite and gracious. They are the easiest group to manage and make it a joy for the volunteers to get situated with a minimum of hassles. As always, thanks to our stupendous volunteers who make it all happen and the amazing spectators who always have our back. We can't thank you enough!

Let Me In!

As usual, we had a couple of people come to the entrance to make the case of why their car was exotic and should get in after we turned them down. Again, for the one-thousand-six-hundred and twentieth time, ask us BEFORE you arrive because we don't want to turn you down any more than you want to be turned down. Here is a hint, if you have to make the case that your car is exotic enough, it's probably not exotic enough. Don't make it bad for both of us. It gives us flashbacks to those awful blind dates we had to squirm through. I once went on a blind date with someone who looked like Uncle Fester and I'm a dude. Never again!

If you have to tell us the story about what makes your car rare and special and it's not obvious to us, it's probably not going to get in. Don't then park, act like you're being nice and friendly then come over and argue with us about it with a smile on your face. It should be obvious. As usual, the argument then turns to, "well that POS got in..." which is never going to go well. Sean, our greeter knows a thing or two about cars and is one of the nicest people you'd ever meet, so don't ruin his day. Just email us, we always get back to you the same day and we're nice guys. We just want the best show possible without getting overrun with cars our spectators don't want to see.

We are On for May 20th, British Car Day! See You Chaps Then!

Well it looks like very old Mrs. Nature is going to let us have a play day on Saturday. We have our traditions ya know.

We love seeing these cars, the variety, the complexity, the occasional screwdriver, and all things British. Some of the most memorable cars to ever come to E@RTC are a part of this group so this is an event you don't want to miss. Besides, nine guys ruptured their spleens making this day perfect and we wish them a speedy recovery.

This is a chance to try on your best fake British accent and go out for some bangers and mash after E@RTC. BTW, there is a very good British restaurant right there in Redmond if you want the same thing inside you as you have on the outside. I'm not sure that came out right, but you know what I meant.

Before you get toooo spoiled, these event days are special occasions and not our normal parking lot. We use the center circle of the mall for our special events, and our normal Saturdays are in the large lots between BJs and Ducati. Assuming it's a nice day on the 27th as well, we will go back to our normal routine.

It's been a very unusual kickoff to our season, not because of the rain but because this will be the only two times in our history were our first two days happened to be event days and we haven't seen Nick in a silly suit yet, but oh, it's coming so protect your eyes, it's going to be bright! Go Nick, go Nick, go Nick!

We are Rained Out for Saturday, May 13!

The only things happy about the rain this Saturday are the slugs. They will be dancing with glee however they do it very-very slowly and without any music. You try dancing at one beat per minute. By the way, did you know that slugs are nature's gum?

I just read that we've not gone more than four days without rain since January. That must mean something to someone, but for us, it just means we're rained out more than usual. At some point summer will win. It could be in August 2019, but it will win...eventually...someday.

YES, WE'RE A WEEKLY EVENT!

Some people are really confused and think we only have E@RTC on "event" days. Nay-Nay! We have E@RTC every Saturday that Mum Nature allows through late October when we're all sick of seeing each other and would rather be home micro-tweezing and storing food for winter. For those new to E@RTC, we have special events that are sort of the day when we super-size E@RTC with a theme. We try and do one theme a month, but because of all the rainy days (see above) we're kind of getting backed up. Think of event days as us turning up the volume to 11.

BRITISH CAR DAY

Speaking of which our next theme is British Car Day. This is one of my personal favorites, right up there with Nutter-Butters dipped in Nutella. (Sounds good doesn't it?) We hear it's what athletes and scientists eat.

The British Car folks are the without a doubt the nicest bunch of people we get all season and the cars are wonderful. It's a polite-fest which is kind of refreshing. They thank us and everything! You otherwise can't believe the stuff people call us sometimes. Some of it is stuff we've not been called in oh, I don't know, three, maybe four hours? I digress, as I often do, however this really is a very nice event with some very special cars, so please come out May 20th to join us for this unique day. It's well worth it!

 

Sliding Into Our Regular Weekly Season

Wow, did the weather folks ever get it wrong last Saturday. Then again, if they were good at predicting the future none of them would be divorced. We did our best to call it right and looked at every forecast we could find except for one of the Thug's "Magic Eight-Ball" that he uses to buy stocks, which as we can now see, may explain why he's still renting a basement by the day from a relative. In the past we tried desperately to send Thugs into the future to check the weather, but the only place they went was a Burn Unit, so we got out of the future business entirely.

It actually was raining in blotches here and there, but not where any of us were standing on Saturday and nothing came within miles of RTC. We love it when they get the weather right and hate it when they are wrong just like you do, so don't bother yelling at us because we will yell back and a couple of us yell really loud.

This week will be our normal show space which is the lots between Ducati and BJs restaurant and over to the hotel construction site. This is where we normally do things until we have big event days. We don't yet have a new day for Lamborghini day, but it will be posted soon enough. Getting the event days on the calendar always takes a while to sort out.

We continue to wrestle with the problem about how to best manage the threshold of what does and doesn't get into the show and as we've said since we began, we have no plans to ever lower our standards, regardless of how we dress. The issue is always about the other direction because we get overrun with cars that while okay in small quantities, can't take up the whole show or we'd hear from spectators who are not that interested in those cars. A badge doesn't make a car interesting to look at.

I think what surprises us most is the smattering of people, somewhat like a dripping faucet, who still think this show is about them rather than the bigger considerations about what we think our spectators love most. Arguing that the criteria is relationship-based doesn't work with us and we get that a lot. Telling us "I'm friends with _______" doesn't work because that's been a running joke since we began. The same with the argument that someone has attended from the beginning. That doesn't give anyone, including ourselves, a special pass.

Many of us already own daily drivers that are rare and far more expensive than those arguing to get in, which is kind of funny, yet we hold the same standards for ourselves and don't make it about us. It's why we give you that puzzled look when we see that some of you, even after seeing the show all these years, still remain oblivious to our objectives. We want it to be worth the drive from Fresno, even though just about anything is worth the drive from Fresno.

Our goal is to always attract the best examples of exotic and rare cars that can be found in the Northwest. That's what our spectators and participants demand. Thats how we manage our brand.

We will be forced to limit sub-brands such as AMG, M and various models of other brands to arrive at a reasonable ratio of what we think best reflects a good show. Again for those new to our event, we always balance the expectations of our spectators and participants with the highest quality show in mind.

Our general rule of thumb is we ask ourselves when a car comes in if someone would drive fifty miles to come see that particular car. If you could find an example just driving one parking lot at QFC, it's probably not going to make the grade. This isn't to say that some examples wouldn't be welcome, but not every AMG or M car fits our standards. So if you can't get in, just pop-N-lock on over with your best moves and still have a good time with the rest of us.

 

 

We are rained out for May 6, Lamborghini Day

I'm sorry to report that we are rained out for this coming Saturday. Lamborghini Day will be rescheduled. You may be asking why we called it rained out when some are showing only a 10% chance of rain. It's a wonderful question and right up there with, why are the Kardashians famous?

We noticed big conflicts between the various weather forecasters and decided to hold off on our decision until after the 9 PM National Weather Service update. Even after we got the update, they said things like "the models don't agree" and we're thinking what? The only thing models ever agree about is that food is bad for you, but we digress. They didn't even want to talk about Saturday at all which was unusual other than they said rain would taper off sometime Saturday. We imagine they were inside their basement high-fiving each other like they just pulled one on all of us. We then looked at other sources who take their data and add their own take, and all but one were showing a 30% or greater chance of rain, so we decided to call it off.

For those of you who get a nervous tick in your eye if you don't see an exotic within a few days, America's Car Museum in Tacoma is kicking off their Exotics static display that begins at noon on Saturday. We're getting a lot of questions about their use of our name. No, we are not connected in any way other than we support the museum when we can. We do hope you go down and have a good time and enjoy the museum.

Sorry everyone, we hope to see you all again on May 13!

We're Delaying our Weather Call for May 6. Stay Tuned

We're delaying our weather call until later today. According to NOAA, "The models are not in agreement." I don't know about you but I'm thinking hipsters in a nightclub parking lot taking swings at each other. We will call it as soon as we can. Right now we're thinking we'd be 90% wrong either way, so give us a bit to sort it out.

E@RTC Sets a New Attendance Record!

First off, we'd like to begin with a giant thank you to everyone who participated and volunteered in our opening day! We couldn't do this without your incredible support! We'd also like to thank our amazing volunteers who managed that many cars with just thirteen people. Notice the snazzy shirts?

And now for the numbers. We did our first count at 9:30 AM with a total of exactly 470 cars. We double check our numbers in each section, but cars were still coming in the main entrance and we'd yet to add some additional cars by Cold Stone. We also had cars still coming into the Center Circle area. By 10 AM we knew we were slightly over 500 cars and had to soft close the entrance and we turned away at least 50+ cars!

As for spectators, we normally estimate three people to every car, but we guessed it was closer to six based on headcount by section. Therefore we estimate around 3,000 people. We could especially tell when it was time to leave and traffic around Redmond was backed up in all directions like they were fleeing a Justin Bieber flash concert.

What do we mean "soft close," is it made out of special foam? Is it fairy dust of some kind?

No, Exotics at Redmond Town Center is like the name says, Exotics. We therefore limit our cars that fall into the broadest sense of the term so we have room for those truly exotic and rare cars that sometimes have issues starting, or transporting due to age, etc., or are limited by route. Consequently, once we're close to full we can't take any more of the cars people are not as excited about seeing, and focus on those who our spectators love the most. There is no point in arguing with us about your car because YOU think it's somehow more special. Just park in the spectator lot like all of us and just come in and enjoy the cars.

And now a word about gripes. Yup, Gripes. Gripes I tell you!

Every E@RTC, we get gripes about something from someone. I'd guess that 74.63%, and we never measured exactly, have to do with who has a "right" to get in and who doesn't. Keep in mind this isn't practice for the Pearly Gates, there is no place to argue your case and nothing bad happens if you don't get in. Still, there is always some judgmental ______________ (I left enough space so you can fill in the blank) who somehow thinks their car is better than everyone else and they should get in or someone else shouldn't. It's annoying. They argue that their car cost more, or that or theirs is faster, or (we try not to laugh when they say it) but they have better exhaust and brakes, which we absolutely don't care about. Nobody cares.

In our ninth season, we've never ever once had someone show up and excitedly ask us if they see the ________________ with the carbon-ceramic brakes! That only happens on shows like the Smurfs.

Please, do our volunteers a giant favor and knock off the politics; if you don't get in, trust their better judgement and just enjoy the show. Don't make it all about YOU. Before you complain about anything, ask what you are doing to help us make a great event. Pitch in! Do something other than gripe! Don't be a _________________________________ .(I left a much longer space to unleash your insult creativity.) Help us make a better show.

We are ON! You read that correctly, O-N! Yup, completely ON!

Exotics at Redmond Town Center is finally having our spectacular Opening Day, Saturday, April 29! Only this time it’s for real!

Let me say it again, WE'RE FINALLY HAVING OUR OPENING DAY!

We also have a GIANT surprise. Two of the most coveted cars in the world will be seen together for the very first time in North America. As far as we know they have never been photographed together in the US, so just getting your photos on social media could make you very popular! Just think of the parties!

 

Did you just tear up a little reading this? I know I did just trying to write the news. I could barely get through it!

(If you guess what it is, you could win a ticket to Fresno. Second prize is two tickets!)

It's not expected to rain until after we're done for the day, so we’re diving on Opening Day like a Parking Thug on a pizza!

One other thing- For those of you showing your special car, please wash it and have it show ready. We do turn away cars that are not cleaned up for the show. We don't mind if you roll in extremely early and do some last minute clean-up nearby, but please, this is a special event and people came a long way to see these amazing cars so make it worth it for them to be there!

Speaking of which, the Parking Thugs will all be in nice new shirts; a nice bright green making them easy to spot and all our moms very proud. All our Thugs have cleaned themselves up, had their shots, carefully studied ballet, and are ready to greet you with open arms and a magical place to slide in and park that cool car.

Rained out AGAIN! We hope to see you April 29!

Mom Nature said, "Not this Saturday children, I have some watering to do," so we're all screwed. We will try again on the 29th. We do have a big surprise in store as we get closer to that day. You will be pleased. At least most of you will be. There is always that one guy who preferred a pony.

And now a word for our Sponsors!

Please come and shop at Redmond Town Center whenever possible! RTC does a lot for us and we are always grateful for their terrific support. We also picked up sponsorship from Ferrari of Seattle and Bentley, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce of Bellevue. That money just covers the cost of our shirts for the season, the ones that try not to make us look fat, which are surprisingly expensive.

Those shirts are important to us because it makes it a lot easier for us to see each other and get cars in the entrance and parked, especially on those days when over four-hundred of you show up and we're running around like tots on a jungle gym trying to get everyone in the right place. The shirts also make us look snappy, like we're a real thing, like we know what we're doing. It's our attempt at beautifying the thugs. We know we could scare paint into a different shade, so this is our attempt to fix things.

This year we have Ducati of Redmond in the old space once occupied by Borders and we welcome them. They are nice people, so when you're done looking at cars, go buy another bike! We will do our best to be the perfect neighbor. We're glad you're here! 

Also new this year, the Original Pancake House will be opening at RTC sometime soon. I don't know what's exactly, "original" given there are so many of these places, but we'll go with it. It's probably a bit like First Savings Bank of which there are probably thousands. Trust me, the toasted coconut pancakes are worthy of public embarrassment. They are that good! We hit the one here in Kirkland rather often and if we're standing sideways you can tell. They will open at 6 AM so this will become popular for us early Saturday morning folk who are too excited to sleep or were home early tweezing the night before. I can never finish the mountain of food they serve up and they suggested I order the senior plate next time. Ouch! Really, Ouch! 

Sorry to put our opening off another week. We know it sucks. We're just as eager to get the season started, but this is Washington. We still love it here 51% of the time.

 

The Peanut Gallery

We love the fact that so many people are actively coming to our website. It gives us chills, but that could be the broken thermostat, or the onset of the flu, possibly hoof and mouth...

Anyhow, with all this great traffic comes a lot of criticism in two key areas, one is about getting their car in the show, and the other is about all the weather forecasters in our beloved car community.

First, lets talk about the easy one; the weather. We're not the National Weather Service. None of us have degrees in meteorology and I think it's safe to say that we don't even own thermometers. Most of us were traumatized by those damn things as kids, so we ban them in our houses. We rely on others who know a lot more than we do to tell us what's up. They have all the cool gear and we just have our thumbs. If they say it's a 30% chance of rain or higher, we just go with it and cancel. There is no point in arguing with us and we'd be happy to put you in touch with them if you think you can do a better job. We go with 30% because there is a 70% chance they are right, and we're 50/50 on that 70% so far.

The other time-burner is with regard to "exotics." This isn't Burger King, where they are not king, or Camping World, where they are not camping or a world, or Pizza Hut where there is no hut in sight, or Target where you're not allowed to shoot anything. We're Exotics at Redmond Town Center and we kind of mean it. The only tricky part is where and what that is. We write extensively about it on our FAQ page. We have no intention of becoming a "Cars and Coffee" because those events are not sustainable simply because while they draw some cool cars, they also draw some of the worst behavior. They always get shut down because of some self-absorbed, narcissistic, attention-seeking moron who ruins it for everyone. We don't want that to ever happen so we stand for something and our participants let us know it when they think we lowered the bar too much, so there is that too.  We're happy to help you figure out if your car should be at E@RTC, so write us if something is unclear. 

We want you to just come in and enjoy the show. Make some friends, have some laughs and good conversation. All that said, you could save us a ton of volunteer time if you didn't argue with us about the weather or getting in. We'd rather put those hours to better use.

 

Rained Out For The Next TWO Weeks! See You April 22!

We're rained out for April 8! We're two for two on the rainout odds. We are also OFF next week because of Redmond Town Center's "Eggstravaganza" on the 15th where you can come and pet some bunnies and goats without looking weird. It's unclear if you can pet the bunnies in the bounce house at the same time, or bounce around in there with a few goats. They are turning our parking lot into a bunny ranch and petting zoo for the day. It does say, "Goats and chicks petting zoo!" so I'm kind of thinking about that one. It looks like fun and you can get sprinkled with glitter and your face painted too. Bring the kids, have some fun! They support us, so let's support them! Get sprinkled! Find some eggs!

Our next possible opening day is April 22, 2017. I put the year down just in case some of you are time traveling with the kids that week.

We do have a BIG surprise showing up on the 22nd. We will say what it is as we get closer to the 22nd. You won't want to miss what shows up that day. It's cool. I'm not kidding.

The 22nd is also Earth Day, so here's my letter to Mrs. Earth.

Dear Mrs. Earth,

I hope this letter finds you well. I just wanted to say that without you, I'd be nothing. No, seriously, nothing. I mean it! Nothing! Not even a neutrino passing through on its way to somewhere, only to splat on some far giant, very dense mass or get sucked into a black hole to then continue on its journey after that wild ride. So small that nothing would ever notice...or care.

I feel lucky to firmly stand on you as you rip around the sun at 67,000 miles an hour without me or the fat guy sitting next to me lifting off and floating around this cafe like cheap Safeway balloons. I admit, I have a love-hate relationship with your gravity having felt your wrath throughout my life, especially the time I rode my bike off the ramp and forgot to stand up, but without you, where would I be?

With the sun moving along within our galaxy at 514,000 miles an hour, and our galaxy zinging through space at 2,237,000 miles an hour, it makes that crappy Prius rather pointless on the very day we celebrate, you. We're glad you're here. Don't go changing. Oh, and please don't hit something, and thanks for letting us go along for the ride until you do.

T

We also made some minor changes to our website because we're getting a lot of people asking if their car is qualified to get into E@RTC. We direct your attention to the FAQ tab where we do our best to help you sort it out. If not, please ask and we will gladly help you.

We also broke out the rules into a new tab because we get a lot of questions, that are also in the FAQ section, which is how we created our FAQ section in the first place. After all, they are FAQs. We look forward to seeing you all very soon! We're already getting complaints like we had something to do with the weather. Oh, we wish. Think of the money we'd make and the friends we'd have.

 

 

 

Our Next Possible Opening Day

We had fun with our April Fools prank. It looked like some people were ready to come over and burn down our houses for not letting them know we were on that day. I think what we loved the most was the number of people who are regulars who get our sense of humor who helped drive the joke much further than we could on our own. We bow to you all. Thanks to each of you! What a great car community!

For those of you who were fooled after reading our blog, we need to talk. Come on! The touring dead bodies of Enzo Ferrari and Ferruccio Lamborghini posing with Ronald McDonald didn't give you a clue? Really??? Little Sisters of the Turbo Encabulation didn't ring even a tiny little bell in your head? Not even a faint ding? No?

Okay, so here is what's up, and this is for real, the weather isn't looking great for April 8, but we won't call it until after 3 PM on Thursday. Still, we always get some kid who wants to argue with us about our calling it that soon. Even if it's 100% chance of rain and there is 100% chance they will be right, we're still not officially calling it until Thursday afternoon. You can then blame NOAA and the National Weather Service if they get it wrong, not us. None of us are standing on our roofs with our thumbs out. We all have jobs and stuff.

This is the important part... we will be off on the 15th no matter what because Redmond Town Center is hosting their Easter "eggstravangza". They need our parking lot for a bounce house. I lived in one in college. I didn't need furniture. I repeat, there will be NO E@RTC ON APRIL 15. Besides, some of us need to bury our accountants.

They will even have a bunny petting zoo. Can you imagine if Australia had a petting zoo? With all the deadly stuff they have down there, nobody would survive, so consider yourself really lucky. Show up with your kids! Find some eggs! 

Wow! Our Biggest Opening Day Ever! (Our Best April Fools Prank to Date)

Wow what a day it was!  We had well over 500 cars show up and easily 2,000 spectators. We can't thank Starbucks enough for finally stepping up for the first time in our nine years! It was about time you actually cared after all we've done for you. That was the biggest surprise of them all.

We'd like to thank Pagani for bringing not one but two Huayras! The new Koenigsegg Regera was breathtaking. We'd also like to thank the Italian government for the touring bodies of Enzo Ferrari and Ferruccio Lamborghini. We're all amazed by how well preserved they looked.

There was only one person who got out of hand and we got to see a taser work in mildly wet conditions. We had no idea they sparked that much and it was kind of cool. We will be talking about this day forever!

Thanks Anthony for the free concert. It was great to see you live. I can't believe we had that many people and the Navy Seals parachuting in was a real highlight given the low clouds and the lack of places to land. I had no idea a Prius roof would cave in like that, but still, it was cool.

I had no idea there were that many nuns in Redmond or that the little Sisters of the Turbo Encapulation could bake that many cookies! They monkey-stomped the Girl Scouts in one morning. Ronald McDonald was there too and that wasn't at all as creepy as we were expecting. It was fun seeing the photos taken of Ronald laying next to both Enzo and Ferruccio. It was like they were all napping except a little wrinkly, we have to admit.

What an opener!

We've Been Invited to Prom!

Well, not really, but that's what it feels like. I'll explain.

Every year we get pitched by local businesses who want to "partner" with us in some way. We never do it. Years ago, we fired up a campfire on the top of Rainier where we could casually clear our minds as we roasted marshmallows over a giant fire and told humorous limericks from our youth. We discussed the whole idea of sponsorship for the event and decided that the less we did, the better.

We take on just enough sponsors to pay for the basics and even then we shore up the difference out of our own pockets. We do this in the spirit of E@RTC. Outside of that, unless we think it makes for a greater show, we don't do it.

E@RTC is meant to be a community event. Our entire goal is to make people as happy and cheerful as Mr. Rogers did when you were staying home from work and watching him in your jammies with your feet wrapped around a gallon of ice cream. We decided that heavy sponsorships and "partnerships" would probably not allow us to remain the community event we are today, so we avoid it like a toothless date for corn on the cob.

It's perfectly okay to bring cars, but we don't allow signs or hanging out leaflets or samples or anything like that, and besides, it's also a rule at RTC. We don't allow window stickers, or anything that makes the event look like people are there to promote their business. Now if the M&M truck shows up handing out one pound bags of peanut M&Ms, screw it. They are getting in. We're otherwise going to pass.

What you can do is get involved. Volunteer! Give back to the car community. That's why we're there. We don't make this about us. This is all about having fun in the first place. Even if we do get those occasional anonymous emails from self-absorbed, narcissists, if not complete sociopaths, who want to make this all about them by calling us names because we don't do what they want. (We simply call them diaper babies... shhhhh!)

It's perfectly fine to do an open house after E@RTC as a destination and post something on our Facebook page as we do love helping the car community, but that's about as far as we go. We're deeply flattered that you'd love to partner with us and we hope you understand.

Oh Schnikes! We're rained out for our opening day!

Seriously, we really are. Only tell people we're there if you want to play an April Fools joke, otherwise there will be nobody there to laugh and point. We're sorry but we've seen this all before... we get all excited, dissemble our cars, scrub every part with a tooth brush, then put the thing back together and hope to God it never rains again. Well, we're thinking of all of you when we cancel due to rain. (We're nice that way.)

This also marks the first official day off for the Thugs, something they don't get once we roll into the real summer months...er weeks...er days. Let's hope it's a great summer and by fall you're all sick of us for another year. Until then, let's hope for great weather next week!

So, how did we call it? We read the post that the National Weather Service puts out on the Thursday after 3:00 PM. If they say rain, and it's 30% or above, it's a no-go.  It's that simple.  We hope to see you all on the 8th... unless it rains again, then I have to write something clever all over again. Pray for me.

What to Expect on Opening Day!

Every year, our opening day is one of the biggest events of our season. This is the day when some of us drive out of our caves after a long winter of hibernation having eaten nothing but cocktail weenies all winter. Some pull the dusty car cover off of the gems that have been hiding for the past six months. Some also find that nasty half a ham sandwich still left on the seat from November and now need a whole new interior. Off come the battery tenders, in goes the air in the tires, on goes the Show Shine, (whoops that's for horses, sorry wrong stuff...) on goes the Griots (not on the horse please) and you're ready to show up!

The kickoff is always weather-dependent, meaning the chance of rain has to be 30% or less in Redmond, and if we see conflicts from various weather sources, and it still averages 30% we will call it off. We sometimes wonder how the weather sources can be so wrong when they have all this really cool gear to play with. Which of us has our own Doppler radar? Hmmm? Yes, Albrecht, Filton, Burke and all the others who hide in your little weather cave, we read your stuff. You'd think with all the latest technology that by now you'd be at least 80% correct 100% of the time. It seems like when they tell us 30%, there is only a 10% chance they have the 30% right and even then that 10% chance is right only 50% of the time.

Now we ALL know this is April Fool's Day and we fully expect some of you youngsters to attempt to fool us into thinking your Prius is somehow exotic enough, like we've never ever heard that one before. Unless it was shot over a canyon and survived on all four wheels, and you have the video with all the screaming to prove it, it's still not going to make the grade. Please see our Frequently Asked FAQs that are asked most frequently about what is and isn't exotic and if you have questions just shoot us a note ahead of time. Anything that either looks like a unicorn or is painted with a unicorn on the side will be given special parking in Lot 9. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Lot 9, it's located in Moclips, Washington, near the corner of Forwood Avenue and Northern Way.

This is always a glorious day, with hugs, high-fives, fist bumps, palm slaps, a middle finger here or there from that, somewhat "less-than-significant" other who was left at home...as old friends come to see each other for the first time since we ended Season 8 last fall. It's like the glorious day you moved out of your parent's basement. Unless they kicked you out, then that day kind of sucked because then it meant staying on Grandma's couch where she does nothing but cry watching Ellen or talk about corn.

We want our opening day to be so big and fantastic, you tell your grand kids about it and someone someday makes a movie about that special day. They don't make just any movie, but one that sweeps the Academy Awards and stars good looking people who haven't even been born yet.

Opening day is always special for us and we deeply appreciate you all showing up. It always brings some amazing stuff we've never seen before and helps us set the high standards for the entire season. This is also one of our biggest spectator days where we see a lot of new faces that become a regular part of our season. Some of you come a very long way both as spectator and participant and we can't thank you enough. We're excited about this new season because we're better organized than ever before with even more prep work for the new season, thanks to our extremely handsome and talented volunteers, especially the guy who writes this stuff who's a real beaut.

Thanks again for being a part of E@RTC and we'll see you on April 1...unless it rains... then read this all over again...

See you opening day!