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Another Day, Another Dead Business

Former Friendly's

I missed this one. Friendly's declared Chapter 11 last September and closed 66 stores in the process. This store, at the intersection of University and Alafaya, was one of the 66. I'd eaten there a number of times in the past, but I hadn't been there for some time. So many have gone bust that I've grown rather numb to the whole process. Fortunately, every business along University that has gone out has been re-opened with something else.

Friendly's Empty Interior

Former Shell Station

That is, except for this former Chevron station that's been an empty lot on the corner, next to the former Friendly's, for nearly three years. This is a view across the property where the gas pumps used to stand. The close, larger circular plates on the ground are the access ports to the underground tanks that fed the pumps.

Land Clearing Tools

And yet a new business is going up a block west of all of this, at the corner of University and Quadrangle Blvd. This used to be a heavily wooded lot I wrote about in 2010, a small piece of remaining wetlands, that was cleared and then left alone for most of 2011. Now it looks like somebody is finally going in there.

I took on a contrarian mood today. I've been swimming in all the announcements, and accompanying excitement, over the release of new cameras from Nikon, Canon, and Fuji. And I started to think I could buy one of the newly announced cameras (not the Nikon D4). And then I started to think about all I currently have. And then the overcast skies settled over that end of town, and as I started to drive home from the office I started to see the changes in the environment I'd seemingly missed, or outright ignored. And I started to feel a certain degree of personal guilt, and a little shame.

it probably doesn't help that I've been watching the 2004's "The Manchurian Candidate" with Liev Schreiber, Denzel Washington, and Meryl Streep. It's a dystopian view of our future, a wonderfully paranoid view of too few men with too much money and power trying to control it all. In light of all that's occurred since that movie was released I sometimes wonder if it's too uncomfortably close to the truth. With us now in the 2012 presidential season that movie resonates and rattles around in my head now more than ever.

To me the real reason to own my cameras is to use them to document my environment as much as possible, warts and all. You don't need expensive cameras to do that. Just cameras that are Good Enough and motivation.


  1. Even in a booming economy, I'm pretty sure that Friendly's would have been doomed. That place has been on a decline for a while. When I was a kid our father would take us there. That was when the food was good, but I think that food all over was of much better quality than what is served in today's chain restaurants. Still, I'll miss the Fribble Shake®, Jim Dandy®, and my personal childhood fave: the Deep Dish Apple Pie Sundae® :(


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