We're Taking the Weekend Off! and Bad Exits

Yes, that's correct. You read it right, there will not be any E@RTC this coming Saturday, August 19 because of car week in Monterey. A lot of our regular attendees and volunteers make the annual migration down to Monterey for Car Week. Besides, most of the volunteers have been working for thirteen weeks straight without a Saturday off and need to moisturize.

As a bit of trivia, a few of our volunteers actually go work the Concorso event in Monterey as if they can't get enough of E@RTC. So, if you're heading down, no you didn't take a hit to the head with a frying pan from your special someone in the middle of the nigh, or eat the wrong mushrooms, those are actual E@RTC Parking Thugs working those event too, only with different shirts! Some of the Thugs can't get enough of car shows so they have to do it or they grow hair where it shouldn't grow at all...ever.

Bad Exits

Once again, we had a few self-absorbed individuals lacking in maturity and self-control do burnout and behave badly when leaving the event. These individuals don't care one bit about our sustaining the event or you. They just want some attention they didn't apparently get from mom. We know who they are and are not welcome back. They ruin it for everyone. We ask you all to help us remind these poop waffles that the sustaining of these events requires good behavior. We go way past a zero tolerance policy, we go all the way to a minus 13 tolerance policy, which means banning you and thirteen people who look like you. Please exit like you're in a hospital zone. Remember those? DON'T RUIN IT FOR EVERYONE POOP WAFFEL!

 

Lamborghini Day! And... We Just Might See Rain...Guess not!

Redmond Town Center figured out a way to accommodate us for the center circle by moving the stage to the other side so we're back again in Center Circle for Lamborghini Day. Sunday is their FitFest event which some of us should attend...well all of us really. When I first read this, I thought they were talking about squeezing us fat guys with beach (ball) bodies into stuff half our size just for some laughs, but no, it's about fitness. It sounds like a fun event, even if snoozing on your couch is your favorite exercise.

Our Lamborghini population in the Northwest is not massive, but they are always impressive cars and there is nothing better than the sound of them all running at the same time. That hum is glorious! We want to also thank Lamborghini of Bellevue for their sponsorship and for helping us round up the cars. We do expect a good turnout.

The chink in the armor, bug in the soup, wrench in the gears, etc., is that there is a small chance Saturday will have some rain early in the morning so we're watching the weather closely, even though we're on. It's one of those weather systems where no matter how we call it, someone is going to complain if it does rain, but right now E@RTC is between the higher chances of rain. We're doing our best to get it right. 

We also have a lot of people starting to head down for Monterey after E@RTC for the annual car week where you get a see a lot of what we already see and do every Saturday morning! If you've never attended the car events at Monterey, it well worth the experience. It's everything from auctions to shows, car parades, to parties, etc., all in a single week. Some are flying, others are driving, nobody to my knowledge is walking or crawling. If they were, they should have left a few weeks ago. Some of us Thugs are heading down onSunday, some Monday, others Tuesday...

I'm driving down and it's always a wonderful road trip and one of my all-time favorites. We have the best coast drive in the world and it's surprising how few people have done this spectacular drive. It's so worth it so just get in your damn car and go! Seriously! You will have fun.

 

 

Today I'm Covering Shaved Legs, Combustibles, and Zombies

Saturday is going to be our best weather ever. It will be a day so perfect, people will write about it for centuries. Even the zombies in the great zombie apocalypse will sit around burning piles of trash, arranging protruding bones, reminiscing about this spectacular day. With a day-time high predicted to be in the upper 80s, we're going to see a very nice morning and probably a big turnout of cool stuff, especially with topless cars and guys in shorts.

Ten bucks to Vic if he shaves his legs! Twenty if he shaves only one! Anyone willing to up the bet? Hey, it's something to do! It's way better than looking out for snow.

We're still getting people who want to argue with Sean about what gets through the gate. Sean is the resident guru gate-master who does such a wonderful job of managing expectations on both sides. It's a much harder job than it looks and he deserves a very special thanks for his work without tazing anyone this season. Seriously, if nuns has Tazers when I was in high school, I would have spent my entire four years wiggling on the floor.

Nick will be back from Watershed and far less combustable than last weekend. Rumor is he had a very nice time, reminiscent of a spiritual retreat into the high mountain wilderness when he was a small boy. I say 'small' in relative terms. Some of our other Thugs will also be back after a badly needed weekend off. Some were also off in the woods finding themselves. I shant say more.

See you all on Saturday!

 

Excuse Me While I Gush A Bit

I'd like to gush a bit about our amazing car community! I'll start with the volunteers who get up early every Saturday morning, SHOWER, get dressed and drive to RTC, plan the lots, stage the flow for the day's anticipated traffic, and get the space ready for the day's show. It's like poetry in motion, synchronized swimming fat guys in Speedos, formation flyers with no planes, ball room dancers with radios; all working together, having each other's back to make the event run smoothly every Saturday as they do. We were down a lot of volunteers today because of badly needed time off for some, and yet, the others picked up the slack with no problem, all with a smile. What a team! I can't think of a greater bunch of people to spend time with on a Saturday morning.

Then we have our participants who bring out their stupendous machines for everyone to enjoy and today it was the Classic Car Club with their extraordinary group of cars that they painstakingly manage to keep running and in complete show-room condition. We had some of the finest examples of classic cars you will ever see along with their outstanding owners who were all a complete delight to host. Thank you all for coming out! The trouble a lot of you go through to bring your cars is not trivial and we can never thank you enough. The pictures from today will hardly tell the story.

Then we have our spectators who help this event remain as marvelous as it is, and are so respectful of the cars. These spectators often tell us to thank the participants who bring them out each week. Many spectators are seeing these cars for the very first time and have only otherwise seen them in pictures. Even those of you who are from Fresno who I pick on for no reason, other than, well, you're from Fresno and you can't explain why. You too play an important role.

I can't begin to express how rewarding it is for us volunteers to see so many people having such a great time each Saturday morning and how many enthusiasts there are for just about every car imaginable. I'm sure there are Ford Pinto enthusiasts group somewhere. I'm not sure I'd want to meet them, but we know they exist. Yeah, probably in Fresno.

I can't forget our photographers, better known as the "drive-by shooters" who do such an amazing job of getting their work posted. The quality of their work is on par with the best automotive magazines and if you look at how they do it, how they show up early, set up, etc., carefully plan their shots, you see how much thought goes into it. Can you imagine if what we typically know as drive-by shooters were using cameras instead of bullets? "Hey man, got a shot of you in your crib in your jam-jams..."

Then there is Redmond Town Center who has been behind us from the day we started and fully understands the meaning of community. They do a lot for us and are always there to help us improve the event somehow. There are a lot of people who come a long way to see what we all built and so I'm sitting here typing this while beaming with pride over what an outstanding event this has all become thanks to each and every one of you.

Thank you! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Yes, gushing with pride!

Classic Car Day and Our Mini-Parade

July 29 is Classic Car Day and you won't want to miss this one. Not only is it Classic Car Day, but we're going to do something fun and different. We're going to gather up the Classic cars over by Bed Bath and Beyond and bring them into RTC through our normal entrance by BJ's Restaurant then up 164th Avenue NE, and into the center circle at the mall where we will get them all parked in a row.

The reason we're doing this is because it's one thing to see Classic cars, it's another to experience them as they roll by. It's like watching Nick jog. We know it's possible, but we still want to see it with our own eyes. Then again, maybe not.

This is really a special day for us and it means a lot to us to have the Classic Car Club of America join us. They are a very well run, active organization and we we'd love to see more of our participants and spectators become a member of this worthwhile club. Some of the history of these cars is fascinating and it's well worth your time to ask questions and learn about these beauties. See you all on Saturday!

For those of you showing Classics, come meet us over at Bed Bath and Beyond at 8 AM.

 

 

It's Great to Be Free!

I'm surprised by the number of people who email us asking how much it is to get into the show. I always want to say five hundred bucks for our last row ticket for 2019. When I tell them that it's free, sometimes they just don't believe me, even though I'd bet my dog on it. She's looking at me right now as she ponders the odds. We're free, we've never charged anything except for two events- one was our spectacular breakfast drive to the falls for the Lamborghini event and the other was our Carz party. In both of those events, they were still subsidized by us, but we all had a great time. We make it up in volume. (old software joke)

We in our regular lot this week followed by Classic Car Day next Saturday which will also be an outstanding day for us. We also have Lamborghini day coming up in August so be sure and come out for that one. It's all on our events page. We've always loved the feel of the regular lots because we get to talk to more people and it has the look and feel of a flash mob that can't dance.

We've been having our best season ever and we can't thank everyone enough for helping us make this happen every week. A big shout-out to Redmond Town Center, our sponsors on the sponsor page, our participants who bring out their amazing cars and our fabulous spectators who generate the enthusiasm to draw the cars. Thank you all for being a part of this. Thank you to the nice person who reads this blog. I'll slip you a few bucks when I see you. Everyone plays a part making this happen, which is why it's as free as a naked guy on a beach on a hot sunny day.

See you all Saturday.

Saturday July 15 is Car Collector Day!

We have some amazing car collectors in the Northwest so we should see some very special stuff this Saturday. When we're learning how to collect anything we all kind of work up to cars. In college the only thing I could afford to collect was dust. By the time you can afford to collect cars, well you've made it.

Think back for a moment. All of us are collectors in some way. We have those voluntary collections and involuntary collections. As an example, stamps, baseball cards, and unique beer cans are likely voluntary. Mismatched socks, broken electronics, ill-fitting clothes, bills, arrest warrants, restraining orders, are probably involuntary. The cars that likely show up at E@RTC- definitely voluntary.

Oh, a dating tip for you ladies; guys who collect cars-good. Guys who collect fingers-bad. BIG difference! Cars, good. Fingers, bad. Repeat twelve times before that next Tinder date. We don't want you to show up at E@RTC looking like a land crab explaining how he seemed so nice. We've heard that one before.

Is my car exotic enough (10PM the night before the event)?

While we're always happy to answer the question, we get a surprising number of late night emails from people who want to know if their car is exotic enough who plan to be there early the next morning. It's not a good time to ask the question. We're not Walmart so we're not open all night. Some of us need our beauty sleep and if you saw us, you can see we're not getting enough. We do our best to get you a response, but please, ping us a couple of days before in case we need time among us to decide if it's on the fence. Not literally on the fence, but you know what we mean.

Improvement

We always want to know how we can best improve E@RTC and while we've heard the suggestion to put bags over our heads, we're hoping for something that will be a little less...Oh, I don't know, obvious. Yeah, we've heard get Vic a stool numerous times. We love feedback, so keep the email and blog posts coming!

 

 

Happy 4th! Back To Our Regular Lot On Saturday!

Happy 4th of July everyone! We hope this is a perfect holiday for everyone and that you don't burn the burgers and buns, not to mention -you-.

We're now back to our regularly scheduled events this coming Saturday and we expect to have more surprises as the season continues. I'm talking about in the form of cars, versus the other, "Honey I'm pregnant!" kind. We wouldn't be a reliable predictor of that one.

We're getting a lot more email from much further away from people who plan to bring their show-quality rides from all over the Pacific Northwest and make a vacation out of it. We're humbled when they make the effort to come from far and wide to participate in our great event. It means a lot to us. Someone from Fresno is bound to show up one of these days, either to chew me out for making fun of their town, or to tell me they are out of soup.

We typically get a lot of out-of-town spectators this weekend who are here on vacation so it's always nice to show off what we do so well. Many have never seen an exotic before and are thrilled to see what you brung. 

I don't know if you noticed but we've added a few more photographers to the list on our photo page. We've lovingly called them the "drive by shooters" since we began. They are doing an outstanding job of uploading their work so please thank them for the effort. A lot of them are real pros with poster-quality stuff. Yeah, we wish we could do blocks of photos on the individual pages, but we're not that sophisticated managing this site. Someday, we'll get that customized. Those photos as they are go everywhere and it's a big part of why our website continues to grow traffic. Thank you all for your efforts! (I'm typing with my thumbs up.)

After a lot of rained out Saturdays in a row, I believe this was the first time we were not rained out even once in June! For that reason, we ask that you thank a volunteer when you see them for their dedication and good cheer. They only get a day off when it rains. It also means that they gave up every Saturday morning in June. It's a lot to ask of anyone and we're deeply appreciative of the work. They have to get there long before the event starts to make sure everything is in place and to decide what's going to go where. Then there are all the little details, radios, shirts, signs, etc., so we're forever grateful that they come out.

We still have our criteria list of cars to post and it's going to stir up some stuff, so we're hesitant but we're just trying to make it easier for people to figure out where we have the line drawn this season. We hate having to draw the line in the first place, but we don't have any good choices on the matter and we hope people understand and don't start mailing us poop.

With regard to our last post about clubs behaving badly, we sure got a lot of great feedback. We didn't just get comments on the page, we also received email on the subject and as always we love to hear from you. Most understand the spirit of why we do what we do and the importance of having fun. It's just a parking lot. Nothing magic happens when you stand on it. Believe me, we've checked. Nick may have even licked it once to see if it was different. Nope, tasted just like all the others, he said.

Thanks again to all of you for participating and we look forward to seeing you on Saturday.

When Clubs Don't Behave

First, a bit of history. When we first started E@RTC, one of our biggest problems to solve was the fights among brand fans. We had each group of enthusiast fighting the stereotype of the other to the point where we were unsure we'd ever get everyone to play nice in a parking lot on a Saturday morning. Some said building a new space shuttle would be easier.

Our beginning was a little bit bumpy with some factions of the car community, so we decided to mix the lots up each week to prevent one piece of asphalt from having a different status from another. It's just a parking lot. We've changed up the locations of cars every week since we began for that very reason, so some brand fan doesn't tweak and have a wiggling schism in front of everyone over parking.

Outside of the brand circles, each brand has their own community reputation and some tend to run on the negative side. We knew that going in and wanted to fix it to grow the community. Who wants to buy a car if a negative reputation is one of the standard features? Still, a handful feel a sense of entitlement with their cars in public and have earned a bad reputation at some restaurants and resorts for basically being jerks. We were never ever going to let that behavior be a part of E@RTC. In fact, we do our best to destroy that very image every chance we get. I wish it was as simple as fire hosing them to the curb. Our success is predicated on the standards by which we operate and good manners is right up at the top.

We wanted to change that negative image of exotic owners, especially self-entitled near-exotic owners, and we've worked hard to be great citizens at E@RTC. Our mission is to bring spectators and participants all into one big happy family with great stories, fun memories and we've succeeded for the most part or we wouldn't be growing. We rarely get complaints about jerks as we tend to spray them with a squirt bottle and yell "bad owner!" the second they give us a problem. We have a very low tolerance for the self-entitled and we've been like that from the day we started. This is a great community event and we're fierce protectors of that reputation.

We started doing themes from our very first seasons; first with Minis as our first group, and it sort of grew from there. We wanted to show some love to a broader car community, and again it worked very well over the years with just four theme days. We've grown those themes but it may be time to cut it back a bit. The British car folks set a high bar on how to behave and they are such a joy to work with. They set the example for everyone to follow.

We only have one group that consistently has a block of members who didn't get the important memo about manners and just standards behavior in general. These members give us problems and somehow have a continued rolling sense of self-importance and entitlement on the very day where we invite them as a club as our guests. Our guests! Key words, "OUR GUESTS." We apologize to those who had to deals with these narcissistic self-absorbed individuals. They ruin it for everyone and frankly they are embarrassing to all of us who love cars.

They don't "run" our event. It's not their day to, "take over," as one put it, they are invited guests who behave very badly and frankly, they can go play somewhere else so we can get back to having fun. Somehow they think because they are a part of a large group, there is some entitlement that comes with it. Nope. We could flood the lot with other brands if that was our only goal. We're an exotic car community event and behaving nicely should go without saying anything.

We also want to protect our volunteers who give up their free time to help out. When these club members act like jerks to our volunteers, it burns up their enthusiasm too. Of course, these spoiled brats don't think that far outside themselves. It's all about them. Our apologies to our volunteers who had to put up with the crap. You don't deserve it either, and we have each other's back on this one.

We're not going to mention the brand because it furthers the stereotype. We know it's a handful of people who ruin it for everyone else, but we have a reputation and a brand image of our event that we will uphold, and well, when they don't have manners, we just don't invite them back. While the individual cars and decent owners are welcome anytime, we're not so sure about the club anymore.

Saturday, July 1 is Porsche Day And A Shout-out To Our Photographers!

This Saturday, July 1st, is Porsche Day, one of the biggest events of our season. We get more P-cars than any other event day and once again it's a chance to talk in a foreign accent, either German or ambiguous European. Given that so far the forecast looks like perfect weather and another warm Saturday morning, so expect to see a lot of really wonderful cars and not just Porsche, but like I said, there will be a lot of them. We do have to limit what gets in and that's always a challenge.

We now have 35 contributing photographers on our photo page and they all do magnificent work. If you've not scrolled through those photos, you're missing some very cool stuff. You may even find a photo of you! (assuming you're a regular attendee) You may see a photo of an old friend you've not seen since that time you spent in a Turkish prison who owes you a few bucks and some soap. You may also spot your dream car, girl, guy, dog or hoagie. We're not judging, so check out the photo page and if you know who they are thank them for contributing to our page. We're very grateful for their support and contributions to the site. See you all on Saturday!

 

We're On For June 24 And They Will be Going Topless!

This is going to be the first warm Saturday morning of our season. We all know what that means. The topless come out! You read that right! I'm talking about cars without tops. Some of these nifty open-top exotics have no heater so they only come and play on days like this. It's a great morning to come out and see the unusual, the fun, the oddly exotic, more hairy legs, and some legs that should be seen and others, well...bring dark sun glasses. You will thank me later.

We are very close to putting up a list of cars that help define what does and doesn't get into E@RTC to help those who have questions. It's taken a while to put it together and it's required a lot of thought. We're still gathering comments from some experts and as soon as we have it nailed down, it will be added as a new page to the site.

There will always be some special exceptions to the list for specific "story cars" so it's never going to be a binary matter (tech lingo)... more like fuzzy logic (more tech lingo). Fuzzy logic isn't just a matter of computational method, it's also how dogs think. If your doorbell rings, your dog runs to the door. It doesn't matter which side of the door the dog is on, it still runs to the other side; in or out. Try it if you don't believe me. I dated someone who did the same thing. Moving on.

We love your feedback so let us know how we're doing and what we can do to make the event even better. As always, we deeply appreciate your support.

 

We are ON for Saturday June 17 and Why We Do What We Do

For starters, Ferrari Day was another big success! Not as big as Amazon taking over downtown Seattle, but big in the world of exotic cars. Having 85 Ferraris show up anywhere is kind of a big deal. Having one of the most valuable Ferraris in the world show up is also a very big deal. Having two LaFerraris show up is also a very-very big deal. You don't see that every day unless you work at the factory, then you definitely see it every day unless you work in accounting, down in the basement where they keep the toilet paper and stuff.

I thought I'd write a bit about why we do what we do. If you notice our site, there is nothing on there about "us" as a focal point. It's all about the event. We will put up a volunteer page so you know who's who in the primate zoo, but we've been careful to make all of this about the incredible people that contribute by bringing out their magnificent rolling machines and the spectators that come out to see them. We're super-greatful for our volunteers and the hard work required to get that many cars sorted and landed in such a short time.

Still, our mission is to keep all this all about you; keeping us independent of anyone who wants to have influence over us, and completely in the best interests of everyone who makes this event happen. There is no monetary gain, no glory of any kind really, other than the satisfaction of smiling faces on as many people as possible. We intend to keep it that way as long as RTC will have us and everyone wants to see the event continue to grow. We do this because it's just great fun and we get to make a lot of friends. We never see the same stuff week after week. We're just as surprised as you are when something unique rolls up and it happens every Saturday! We never knew some of these cars even existed! It's not like we keep them in a basement somewhere.

The point is, you never want to miss a Saturday while we're in season. The summer months roll by and then everyone is bummed when the season is over with. So, while it's nice, come out and see the cool stuff that shows up. You will have a great time!

BTW- Note to candy marketing people out there. There is absolutely nothing fun about a "fun size" anything, ever! "Fun size" would be a MilkyWay bigger than Nick's head. Period!

Ferrari Day is On!!! (I can actually see your happy dance from here.)

Are you doing "the noodle" with the news? I can't believe it, but it's true! The weather turned our way! Therefore Ferrari Day is on and we're going see a lot of really cool cars this Saturday. This is the event that draws the most cars and spectators not to mention the glorious sound as the cars roll in.

This event is in the center of the mall and wraps around the building into our primary lots. It'a very fun day and one you don't want to miss. Ever. Ever-ever. This is one of the best days to bring in friends from out of town to see something you don't normally see. Of course, there will be the most coveted Ferrari there is, the fabulous 250 GTO along with some other really special cars to get all excited about.

The chance of rain has dropped to just 8% that morning so apparently Mom Nature just isn't feelin it and wants to go do something other than water the Northwest. I have no idea what she does in her spare time, but it's looking more and more like she's going to leave us alone.

We all remember last year and we waited to call it as long as we could and the weather folk got it wrong. This time, we think we're going to get a nice break, so let the festivities begin!

Ferrari Day!!!!...Isn't Looking So Good...

Hi Everyone! Well, shucks! (Does anyone say that anymore?) Right now, the weather isn't looking so good for Ferrari Day this coming Saturday June 10. We're not going to call it until after the 3:00 PM weather report on Thursday, but it's looking very doubtful. We don't want to 'dampen' what is normally one of our biggest days of our entire season, excuse the really bad pun.

The good news is we already have an alternate date picked out and we'll announce that on Thursday so we're not flooded with emails from people who are confused about the date. For right now, we're sticking with the 10th unless Mom Nature says nope, it's her watering day and she has other stuff to do. Mom Nature always kind of does her own thing you know.

Yes, we had Ferrari Day in the rain last year by accident when the weather folks said the rain would clear out much earlier than it did and the rain just hung over Redmond like a friend who won't go home. Some collectors went through a lot of trouble to bring cars, then had to spend hours getting them cleaned up again after the event, so we're wishing to be kind to everyone. Giving us grief about our rain policy isn't kind to everyone. Shucks.

 

We're on for Saturday, June 3 and Other Fun Stuff

It's looking like we're on again for another beautiful Saturday morning. The weather is only going to get better with more surprises as we roll through the season.

We're getting a lot of email with questions about what cars are qualified to get it. We're glad people are asking if they don't know. We really hate to turn anyone away at the entrance and we're happy to take the time to answer your email. Right now, Dan is working on a chart that shows each brand and what does and doesn't make the cut this season. No matter what, there will be adjustments and it will continue to be a living document. Again, even though we say it everywhere, for those who get upset with us because they don't make the cut, we're just trying to put on the best show possible and we cover the topic to death.

We see the pride when people pull up and it kills us to have to say no sometimes. Some people have spent hours and hours getting their ride ready to go only to get turned away. When Sean turns them away, nice as he is, it can still feel as if he just dragged them out of their car through the little side window, kicked them in the huevos rancheros and stuffed them back through the same window upside down and sent them on their way. We genuinely hate doing it.

Through all this, it made me think about the first car I even owned. It would be fun if others would write about the same thing in the comment section. I never could have imagined what automotive would someday become. We couldn't comprehend WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, self-driving, night vision, and all the other stuff that's now on the market.

My first car was a 1968 Fiat 850 Spider Hard Top. It was safety-cone orange for a reason and often just as useful. While other cars could go from 0-60 faster than me, I could out rust all of them. It had all the structural integrity of Jiffy-Pop and was about as safe as driving a granade. Coolant was my cologne as it would continually drip from somewhere under the dash. It was a clown car of two because everywhere I went, people would fall over laughing.

It was fun to drive and easy to push. I remember how I felt about my car and to me it was a Ferrari. When I looked at it, I saw 'fast,' yet to everyone else, they saw something that could barely compete with a wheelchair. Slugs beat me to school. It had a shockingly powerful 47hp motor that could do 0-60 in under two days. I saw one on the road the other day and I actually cheered. Not because it was so rare, but because nobody was pushing it. Someone said to me, FIAT stood for "Fix It Again Tony" and everywhere I went took about as long as it did to walk because I'd have to pull over somewhere, walk back, pick up something off the road that fell off and then place it in the trunk unless it was something I needed to go...or stop. It was like one of those parade floats that throws candy only in this case it was parts.

We've all shared our stories about our first car and we'd love to hear more from you.

We do answer each and every email that same day when you inquire. Issues surrounding that standard are the biggest single area of contention, but that bar is also what sustains the integrity of the event so we have no plans to lower the bar.

We love your feedback!

 

 

Thug me This...and That

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. Not any one of us would ever be allowed to visit someone in a burn unit. 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.