Skip to main content

Recovering? We're Not Even Close

Former Chevy's Fresh Mex, West Oaks Ocoee
Closed Chevy's front entrance

This past Saturday I dropped the two Labs off at a PetSmart for their sorta-monthly grooming. I say sorta-monthly because it takes four to six weeks for the Labs to reach a point where a certain head-turning aroma begins to waft up from their yellow bodies. When I can tell they're around without seeing them then it's time for a bath. And being close to Christmas I didn't want stinky dogs to ruin the occasion, so I was doubly motivated to drop the characters.

On the way back out of West Oaks I drove through the section of the mall property where there used to be a Toys-R-Us, Chevy's Tex Mex, and Border's stores. Over the last twelve months I've watched the Toys-R-Us and then the Borders shut down. On the way out I stopped and captured a few photographs of this now out-of-business Chevy's

Former Chevy's Fresh Mex Empty Interior, West Oaks Ocoee
Looking through the dirty windows at the empty interior

It has been a long harsh slog these past five years in the section of town around Ocoee. I've watched one major store after another shut down and move out. The Toy's-R-Us moved to the Mall at Millenia, right across from the Home Depot and into the empty building where Expo used to be before it went out of business. Border's had been dying a slow death since around 2006. The store at West Oaks was closed in March, and Borders finally closed everything this past September. With the demise of Chevy's there are now three side-by-side large stores sitting out in front along West Colonial. I have no idea what the state of the larger mall is anymore.

It's a shame it all turned out this way. My wife and I used to take our young girls to eat at Chevy's (and at a Don Pablos that used to be around the corner before it closed and moved out). After dinner we'd go to the Toys-R-Us and window shop, picking up some little item for the girls. Then we'd go over to Borders for mom and dad to pick up something to read. Oddly enough we didn't spend that much time in Best Buy (and to this day I still don't unless it's something I really need and I know is in the store).

As the years wore by the traffic grew thinner, both out front and in the mall. With the real-estate bust and the continuing high unemployment, 'edge' businesses such as these continue to shut down all over Orlando.

As for Chevy's, there's just two stores left in Orlando. There's no telling how long they'll be in business before the entire chain leaves, just like Donatos and so many others.

West Oaks Mall Borders Closing Store Front
Borders Closing in March 2011

Exit - Store Closed
Closed Toys-R-Us

More Toys 'Я' Us construction
Constructing new Toys-R-Us at Mall of Millenia September 2010, where the Expo used to be


Popular posts from this blog

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…

vm networking problem fixed

Over the weekend I upgraded to Windows 8.1, then discovered that networking for the virtual machines wouldn't work. Then I tried something incredibly simple and fixed the problem.

Checking the system I noticed that three VMware Windows services weren't running; VMnetDHCP, VMUSBArbService, and VMwareNatService. VMware Player allows you to install, remove, or fix an existing installation. I chose to try fixing the installation, and that fixed the problem. The services were re-installed/restarted, and the virtual machines had networking again.

Once network connectivity was established there was exactly one updated file for Ubuntu 13.10, a data file. This underscores how solid and finished the release was this time. Every other version of every other Linux installation I've ever dealt with has always been succeeded by boatloads of updates after the initial installation. But not this time.

Everything is working properly on my notebook. All's right with the world.

sony's pivotal mirrorless move

I'm a died-in-the-wool technologist, even when it comes to photography. I have always been fascinated with the technology that goes into manufacturing any camera, from the lenses (optics) through the mechanical construction, the electronics involved, and especially the chemistry of the film and the sophistication of the digital sensor. It's amazing that the camera can do all it's asked of it, regardless of manufacturer.

Of all the types of cameras that I've really taken an interest in, contemporary mirrorless (again, regardless of manufacturer) are the most interesting because of the challenging problems the scientists and engineers have had to solve in order to build a compact but highly functional camera. In particular I've followed the sensor advances over the years and watched image quality climb (especially with μ4:3rds) to exceed film and rival one another such that there's very little difference any more as you move from the smaller sensors such as 4:3r…