Tag

Richmond

Summer Goal #5: Finish DowntownShortPump.com

By business, technology

Almost four years ago, I purchased the domain name www.downtownshortpump.com. It was a site owned by the developer of the Downtown Short Pump complex with Barnes & Noble and Regal Cinemas. They used it as promotion for their shopping center and etched it into two huge signs at the busiest intersection in Henrico County (West Broad Street and Pouncey Tract Road). They let the name expire. I bought it for eight bucks (you snooze, you lose)! I let the domain name sit idle for a year, then made some attempts at developing it, but never got far.

After three revisions, I’m finally at the point where it looks professional enough to market as a good advertising space. I’m getting well over a thousand hits per day at this point, and have made lots of efforts at collecting data to make the site more comprehensive. Advertising efforts are starting off slow, but I have a plan of attack that will bring me more success, including full-color, glossy brochures. You’ve got to truly believe something can succeed if you want it to. I believe I can achieve success with this business, it’s just going to take some time and hard work.

I’ll keep everyone posted on the progress. As for now, I’m closing in on several major advertising contracts and working up a pitch for future businesses to advertise. I’m very optimistic about the future of the site!

Summer Goal #2: Get Out Of My Comfort Zone

By life

I’ve always considered myself a relatively outgoing person. It could be said about my late grandfather that he “never met a stranger,” meaning he always talked to people when out and about and whatnot, and that trait has been passed on to me. However, we all get into ruts. I’ve developed a bad habit of sticking to what, or who, I know. For far too long, I’ve missed opportunities to meet new people and develop new friendships. Who knows where I could be in my life right now if I had seized those opportunities.

Here’s what I’m gonna do about it. First off, I’m going to start conversations with random people I encounter on a daily basis (haven’t in a while) and see where it goes. I’ve actually made a friend or two in this way in the past. It sounds crazy, but it’s true.

Second, I’m going to conquer my fear of public speaking. I plan to join the Innsbrook chapter of Toastmasters International, an organization that helps you with public speaking in an encouraging, uplifting environment. As I gain confidence through this and conquer my fear, I’ll in turn be better positioned to get out there and tackle other issues I’m writing about this week.

Summer Goals Series

By health, life

Plain and simple, here’s what the summer has in store for me, if all goes as planned. By the time I head back to school in late August, here’s what I wanna do to change myself and enrich my life (in no particular sequence or order).

I’ll be on vacation this coming Thursday through the Thursday after in the Outer Banks. While I will have wi-fi, I’m gonna try not to spend much of any time with technology because, quite frankly, I need a break from it. I’m going to write myself silly in the next few days and post-date more in-depth entries on the topics below, to show up while I’m gone, one for each goal below, and for each day I’m gone.

  1. Lose ten pounds (This is roughly what I’ve gained over the past year; probably more, but it’s a start)
  2. Get out of my comfort zone (This may mean selling ads for my web business, public speaking, or doing some acting at church in video productions)
  3. Read two books (Hey, I got my library card renewed; that’s a start, right?)
  4. Meet some new people (Can’t go wrong with this)
  5. Finish Downtown Short Pump (I’m well on my way, I just need to sell some advertising!)
  6. Change my ways of thinking (Attitude, etc.)
  7. Be more authentic (We all have room to improve on this one)
  8. Stop trying to please everybody and just live my life (I take on way too many projects and consequently never finish any of them)

It’s going to be an interesting eight days of reading. I’m on the verge of transforming my life into what I’ve always wanted it to be. I’ve felt it for a while, and now I have a plan of action. Sure, it says “Summer Goals,” but really this is what I want to accomplish by year’s end. You could say that 2008 is my year of self-improvement, and 2009 will be the result of this year’s work and reap the benefits.

“Henrico, Virginia” Mailing Address Coming Soon

By business, news, opinion

If your mailing address is Richmond, Virginia, but you live most anywhere in Henrico County, your address will soon change to Henrico, Virginia. Why? Henrico County loses millions of dollars every year to the City of Richmond. Big corporate chains that are based outside of the area think that because the mailing address is Richmond, the taxes should be paid there. This adds up quickly. Well that’s interesting enough alone. But it gets better.

Henrico County sent out a mail survey asking residents if they wanted to change the name to Henrico or leave it Richmond. They also did a TV ad campaign. Fair enough. What I don’t get is that Richmond did an ad, too! Richmond Mayor Doug Wilder (leave it to him) decided it would be a competition and fought to keep the undeserved money in the city! Then again this is Doug Wilder we are talking about here. Should we be surprised in the least? He needs to go.

Tracing The Three Notched Trail

By history

I’ve always been fascinated with local history, but nothing has intrigued me more than Three Chopt Road. Hundreds of years ago, it was an Indian trail, and was then improved in 1730 as a more substantial roadway between Richmond and Charlottesville. Route 250 (Broad Street) replaced the road in the 1930s, but it’s still one of the oldest roads still in service today in Virginia. Thomas Jefferson frequented the road, going between his home in Monticello and the Capitol in Richmond quite often. Many, many other notable individuals have also traversed this roadway.

I’m about to undertake a huge project. I’m going to single-handedly document the entire road from its origin near Powhatan Hill east of Richmond, all the way to Augusta County in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Why? It’s one of the most historic roadways in America, and yet little has ever been done to completely document everything on this rapidly-deteriorating (because of replacement roadways) trail.

I’m going to set out to document interesting buildings and houses, landmarks, and other features of the road, beginning near the city, sometime in the next two or three weeks. Armed with just my GPS, camera, and camcorder, I’ll document anything interesting I see. I hope to somehow export geodata about where videos and pictures were taken onto a custom Google map as the project progresses. Check back on the website I bought for the project, www.threechopt.org, soon. I’m ready to do this!

Am I crazy? Maybe. But this is my passion! Plus, a lot of people I’ve talked to out at the local history exhibition I put on every Fall always ask about the road and its history. Heck, it even runs right through Short Pump, although most of the original portions in this area have been realigned to make way for developments, such as West Broad Village.

Stay tuned, there are many more updates to come! If you or someone you know would like to get involved, I’d love to hear from you.

Circuit City + Blockbuster = Circuitbuster?

By business, news, opinion

News has just surfaced in the past couple of days that struggling movie rental company Blockbuster has offered a billion dollars to buy out similarly struggling electronics retailer Circuit City, based here in Richmond.

Blockbuster executives claim it would uniquely position Circuit City, the number two electronics retailer in the United States, to have a more competitive retail concept. How? By pairing electronics and end-user content together, similar to the way the Apple Store does.

But on a personal note, I don’t know how Blockbuster can afford such a deal, seeing how much of a hit they’ve taken in the past few years with rivals such as Netflix undermining their business (although they do have their own service, Blockbuster Online, of which I’m a customer, and it’s better than Netflix if you ask me because you have the option of instant in-store exchange).

In my opinion, bringing these two companies together seems comparable to raising a flag on not just one sinking ship, but two. I’ll be really interested to see what happens if the deal ends up going through.

“Blockbuster Stumbles On Hostile Takeover” – via Business Week

Shares of Blockbuster Inc. plunged to an all-time low Monday after it announced a $1 billion-plus hostile takeover bid for No. 2 electronics retailer Circuit City Inc., earning it a downgrade from a BMO Capital Markets analyst. Shares of the Dallas-based movie rental chain lost 32 cents, or 10.2 percent, to close at $2.81 after falling to a new low of $2.52 earlier in the day. Jeffrey Logsdon said in a note to analysts that he was “uncomfortable” with the deal and said it has the potential to divert management attention and financial resources from its own recovery.

Shares of Blockbuster have lost more than half their value since trading at an annual high of $6.67 a year ago. The company has struggled to compete with online movie operators such as Netflix Inc., and Circuit City management has questioned whether Blockbuster can finance the deal. Logsdon lowered Blockbuster to “Market Perform” from “Outperform” and cut his nine- to 15-month price target to $3 from $5. The analyst said the buyout creates a “two-front war” as the company struggles with its own financial problems. He further criticized the deal, saying it would take nine to 12 months to close and another year after before any financial benefit is realized. Furthermore, Blockbuster will likely have to use equity to pay for the deal, which will further push the stock downward, he said. “We find it difficult to imagine that fighting what amounts to a two-front war will ultimately enhance value for (Blockbuster) shareholders,” Logsdon said.

On Monday, Blockbuster announced that it would go straight to shareholders and pay between $6 and $8 per share in cash for Circuit City after saying the struggling retailer had not responded to repeated offers. The deal values Circuit City between $1.01 billion and $1.35 billion, based on its 168.4 million outstanding shares as of Dec. 31. The offer adds a 25 percent to 67 percent premium on Circuit City shares, based on their $4.79 closing price on Feb. 15, the last trading day before Blockbuster made its offer. Shares of Circuit City, based in Richmond, Va., soared $1.07, or 27.4 percent, to close at $4.97.

Introducing The Complex Simplicity Radio Show (And My Future Co-Host, Rochelle)

By radio show

So the “Ghost Writer” who’s been writing on my blog is finally being revealed. I’m starting a new weekly radio show with the same name, Complex Simplicity, in May. Her name is Rochelle. She’s a sophomore at JMU. I met her at RCC early last year and have since kept in pretty much constant contact with her. Sometimes for a few hours a day on the phone. The fact that I’m not even a phone person (with anyone) and I always have something to talk about with her, sometimes for hours, is astounding to me. Enough so that I thought it’d be a pretty cool idea to have her as co-host of my show I’m bringing back. You might remember the show I had before with another one of my friends, “Evolution Of Thought.” This is a revival of that concept, but it’ll be exponentially better this time. I have big plans for this. But I’m starting small.

Rochelle will bring a multitude of creativity, charisma, and insight to the table. She’s a sweet girl and a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to working with her on this project that’s really a fulfillment of a long-time dream I’ve had to get a real radio show going via podcast.

Jason Paige, former Q94 disc jockey and voiceover talent for many Richmond area radio advertisements (including big names like King’s Dominion) recorded an intro for it a while back and it sounds awesome. I’m stoked to get this thing on the air!

Lifehouse Concert

By events, music

I went to the Lifehouse concert downtown at The National with my friends Monica, Sarah, and Katelin Monday night. Genius here forgot to charge his camera. I realized it was completely dead when I got there, but this is me we’re talking about. I’m not at all surprised. It’s a daily occurrence. Either way, I snapped a few decent pictures with the iPhone.

The concert was incredible. Matt Nathanson and Honey Honey opened up for them. Honey Honey was pretty good, but Matt Nathanson was awesome. I had only heard one song of his before the show (“Car Crash”) and expected him to be pretty low-key and rather acoustic. That was definitely not the case. He rocked out. I’m talking hardcore. Lifehouse was terrific of course. Even more so than I expected, though. Here’s a few very vibrant (they put on a pretty cool light show, too) pictures from the concert:

The Other Boleyn Girl – Review

By movie reviews

WARNING: Spoiler Review! If you haven’t seen this movie and plan on it, you’ve been warned.

I went to see The Other Boleyn Girl the other night. I went into it with the assumption that it was going to be another film that I wouldn’t understand. After being dragged to The Queen, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and Atonement in the past, I thought this was going to be another historical chick flick disaster, especially because I usually find medieval or historical British films extremely dry, stuffy, and incredibly boring.

Natalie Portman stars as Anne Boleyn, an attractive young woman, who fights for the affection of King Henry VIII (played by Eric Bana) with her sister, Mary Boleyn (played by Scarlett Johansson). Anne and Mary are invited to come live at the Royal Court, and King Henry’s wife feels rightfully threatened by them because she has had no luck in producing a male heir to the throne and thinks he may try with one of them.

Through a series of events and plot twists throughout the movie, he ends up getting both of them pregnant. Mary has a boy, but because he’s still married to the queen, the child is illegitimate. He then fathers a child, a daughter, with Anne. King Henry is obviously mad they had a daughter and not a son, but we later learn that she grows up to be Queen Elizabeth I.

There are a number of accusations towards the end of the film, and Anne and her brother end up being beheaded. This was a fascinating movie, and although there were some historical inaccuracies, it was great. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Overall rating: