Skip to main content

Happy Birthday to Me

Yes, today was another lovely birthday. I've long since passed the point where I anticipated my birthday. Now I dread them. This year, rather than sit around and feel sorry for yet another year passing, I decided to go out and shoot. And because I was in such a wonderfully grim and cheerless mood I decided to drive around International Drive here in Orlando and shoot a bit of its long, slow decay. I took Megs with me; I'd bequeathed my E-300 system to her for her to use this coming spring in college. She needed the practice.

We started at the Sea World end of I-Drive, near the old Harcourt Brace Jovanovich building (or whatever it's called these days). It caught my daughter's eye because of the huge "For Lease" sign plastered across the top two floors of the building, visible from I-Drive. We drove around and into the empty parking lot; I assume it was empty because it was Sunday, but you never know. The lovely color shot is from the front and shows the neatly trimmed lawn. The back shows the sign we first saw from the main drag.
HBJ FrontHBJ Back and For Lease Sign

We next drove down I-Drive towards the intersection with Sand Lake, slowly passing the Orange County Civic Center which now sprawls across both sides of I-Drive. We passed the OCCC and continued until we we came to a huge, empty vacant lot. Up to this point every square foot of I-Drive has, or was, completely developed. I was a bit shocked to see that much empty prime real estate, and then I was shocked further when I realized that the Mercado Marketplace used to sit on that land.

Mercado Marketplace TreesFormer Mercado Marketplace
Mercado Marketplace Main EntranceLast Entrance Standing

I don't know the nature of its demise. All I know is I was here when it first opened, and for a number of years the family and I would come here to eat and to visit the Titanic show that was part of its attraction.

Steak & Ale BeddingFinally, I close this post with a shot of yet another empty Steak and Ale. This one is within spitting distance of the old HBJ building, right on I-Drive, and sits next door to an equally empty Bennigan's.

Some inventive person stashed a mattress into the awning that extends over the front entrance. It's high enough that you can't see anyone up there, it gives shelter from the rain, and the metal is strong enough to support the weight of the person who crawls up there to lie on the mattress.

We saw a lot of other promising material, and we've made a mutual promise to come back and shoot all up and down I-Drive, especially the north end above Sand Lake.

Yes. I had a wonderful birthday.

All images shot with Olympus E-3 and Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm f4.0-5.6 UWA zoom.


  1. Happy Birthday Bill - another good set of docupics (sorry I'm arrogant enough to invent my own words now LOL)
    Interesting if sad display showing what happens when Capitalism fails in an area.


Post a Comment

All comments are checked. Comment SPAM will be blocked and deleted.

Popular posts from this blog

A Decade Long Religious Con Job

I rarely write inflammatory (what some might call trolling) titles to a post, but this building you see before you deserves it. I've been seeing this building next to I-4 just east of Altamonte/436 and Crane's Roost for nearly 12 years, and never knew who owned it. Today on a trip up to Lake Mary with my wife I saw it yet again. That's when I told her I wanted to stop by on the way back and poke around the property, and photograph any parts of it if I could.

What I discovered was this still unfinished eighteen story (I counted) white elephant, overgrown with weeds and yet still under slow-motion construction. It looks impressive with its exterior glass curtain walls, but that impression is quickly lost when you see the unfinished lower stories and look inside to the unfinished interior spaces.

A quick check via Google leads to an article written in 2010 by the Orlando Sentinel about the Majesty Tower. Based on what I read in the article it's owned by SuperChannel 55 WA…

Be Careful of Capital One Mailings

Capitol One ("What's in your wallet?") sent me a bit of deceptive snail mail today. I felt sure it was a credit card offer, and sure enough, it was. I open all credit card offers and shred them before putting them in the trash. Normally I just scan the front to make sure I don't miss anything; the Capital One offer made me stop for a moment and strike a bit of fear into my heart.

The letter's opening sentence read:
Our records as of December 30, 2009 indicate your Capital One Platinum MasterCard offer is currently valid and active.Not paying close attention during the first reading, I quickly developed this irrational worry that I was actually on the hook for something important, but I wasn't quite sure what. The letter listed "three ways to reply" at the bottom; via phone, the internet, and regular snail mail. I elected to call.

Once I reached the automated phone response system, the first entry offered was '1', to "activate my Capital …

cat-in-a-box channels greta garbo

So I'm sitting at my computer, when I start to notice a racket in back. I ignore it for a while until I hear a load "thump!", as if something had been dropped on the floor, followed by a lot of loud rattling. I turn around and see Lucy in the box just having a grand old time, rolling around and rattling that box a good one. I grab the GX1 and snap a few shots before she notices me and the camera, then leaps out and back into her chair (which used to be my chair before she decided it was her chair).

Just like caring for Katie my black Lab taught me about dogs, caring for Lucy is teaching me about cats. She finds me fascinating, as I do her. And she expresses great affection and love toward me without coaxing. I try to return the affection and love, but she is a cat, and she takes a bat at me on occasion, although I think that's just her being playful. She always has her claws in when she does that.

She sits next to me during the evening in her chair while I sit in mi…