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Christmas Song Of The Week: NewSong – “The Christmas Shoes”

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I know, I know, this is a sad song for those of you that have heard it. But I had to post it. It’s a great story about a little boy who can’t afford to buy his mom a pair of shoes for Christmas so that she looks pretty when she gets to heaven to meet Jesus. It’s by Christian band NewSong, and it’s a great reminder of the true spirit of the Christmas season.

 

Is Circuit City Short Circuiting?

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Circuit City, based here in Richmond, has done something interesting with the store right up the road from its headquarters, at Gaskins and Broad. The big “outlet plug” that used to adorn the front of the store is gone, and the entire store has been remodeled on the inside and out to look more like the newer store in Short Pump. However, it’s not just the look that’s changed. Take a closer look and you’ll notice a new name- “The City.” Although company executives are tight-lipped about it, this location seems to be a concept design of sorts. It’s big and open, and has a layout similar to that of Best Buy. Not surprising, considering how much market share they, their fiercest competitor, has taken from them in the past decade. The company is overhauling many of it’s operations and restructuring their business on the corporate level as well.

Nutty Northern Virginians

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So I drove up to IKEA today to get the desk I wanted that wasn’t available when I got the rest of my furniture a couple of weeks ago. First off, let me say you should never go to IKEA alone if you’re planning on buying anything. I had to get someone to watch my stuff twice while I backed my car up to the loading area. Anyway, I don’t know how I could ever live up there. For one, there’s just too many people. Secondly, the majority of them are really bad drivers. I had to go about 75 MPH consistently to keep up with the flow of traffic, and I was still practically getting run over by the cars behind me. Not a few, but literally the majority of the people on Interstate 95 were going at least 85 or 90 MPH. It was ridiculous. Got my stuff, though. The room’s almost complete. All I have left to do now is put up the wallpaper border I got and I’ll be finished! Pictures coming very, very soon.

Short Pump Sprawl Rant

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Any of you that know me pretty well know I run a local history website (I’m in the process of revamping it now, and it looks so bad at the moment I don’t even want to link it right now). I’ve watched the development of Short Pump from a tiny rural village eleven years ago to the sprawling suburban hot spot it now is. Sure, it’s great that those of us who live in the Far West End have pretty much everything we could want and need within a few miles of us, but it’s just gotten ridiculous lately.

Take for example the shopping center that’s opening up this weekend, Short Pump Station. It’s the one that was just completed across the street from Target. Next time you’re driving down West Broad Street, take a look at it. Notice how there’s ten or fifteen retail spaces for lease in the center, and only four are leased as of now. Why are developers building these shopping centers when there is no demand? Obviously, as the old saying goes, if you build it, they will come. Yes, this is true, they will eventually fill up the entire place with tenants, but look at what’s there thus far:

1) A Verizon Wireless store. Are you kidding me? There are five (count them… FOUR) Verizon stores within a one mile radius of this new store! There’s one in Best Buy, Circuit City, Short Pump Town Center, and on Broad next to For Eyes. I can somewhat understand when Starbucks puts a store on every corner, but a cell phone store? That’s insane.

2) Petco. I like animals… shoot, I have four cats. But what’s the need? I know we have a PetSmart right down the road, so it’s only natural that their competition would move in, but seriously.

3) Five Below. I’ve been to one of these stores up at Patomac Mills in Northern Virginia. What is it, you ask? Basically take the Made-In-China crap they sell at Dollar Tree and add a few “nicer” items, up to five bucks. There you have it. It’s geared towards teens and young people on a tight budget, but it’s still crap. We already have a Wal-Mart across the street for that.

The empty shopping center trend continues as you go west of the mall to Towne Center West, which opened this summer (pictured at top, left).

Next to Short Pump Station, West Broad Village is now under construction. Despite “planned traffic improvements” that Henrico County talks about all the time, it’s still going to be even more of a nightmare than ever to drive through Short Pump when it’s all completed.

But rest assured, all you Verizon customers, you’ll always have five cell phone stores within walking distance of each other that you can stroll between when you get stuck in gridlock traffic for three hours and abandon your car on Broad Street.

Christmas At RCC

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This past week, Pastor Rick started his first message about the Christmas Season. The first message was all about giving. He talked about how much giving to God blesses you. One of his points was that you can’t outgive God. He’s talked about this in the past in other messages, and told numerous stories about how people who thought they didn’t have the money to give still gave, and how their lives were transformed and how God provided for them. I am without a job as of last Friday, but after hearing this message, I’ve decided I’m still going to tithe and give to the annual Christmas Offering next week because I’m faithful that God will help me to find another job soon.

Black Friday 2007

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I can’t believe I forgot to post this. On Black Friday, I went out to get some deals at 3:45 AM and made a stupid little video about it just for fun. It’s poorly-formatted for YouTube and filmed on my digital camera, but hey, it’s just for laughs. Check it out.

Song Of The Week: Trans-Siberian Orchestra – “Wizards In Winter”

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Okay, so you got gypped last week with no song of the week since I haven’t been posting later, so in order to catch up, here it is, almost a week late (that’s right, that means you get another one tomorrow, too). It’s hard to find music videos of Christmas songs here in this festive time of the year, so you’re gonna end up getting a double whammy. Here’s Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s song “Wizards In Winter” along with a Christmas light display that was timed to the music by computer. I’m going to see them in concert in a couple weeks, too. I wish I had the time, money, and skill to do this. One day I hope to do something even half this cool at my own house.