Archives For Tacky Florida

the new mcdonalds

The “world’s largest” McDonald’s, located at the intersection of Sandlake and I-Drive, is undergoing considerable renovation – the original was torn down and this newest multi-story facility is going up in its place. This newest iteration is so big that it’s consuming it’s older property plus what used to be a Mobile gas station next to it that was torn down years ago. The old McDonald’s was to this new building’s immediate left.

When it’s all finished I’ll head back over and grab a few photos. In the mean time here are a few photos I took late one night  three years ago with the E-M5’s line art filter. It’ll give you some of the flavor of the older “legacy” burger joint.

GoldenMickey DPrepare To Be Dazzled

purple eyeIn spite of all my hope, the Orlando Eye opened while I was away in Japan in April. I saw it the first night I was home, glowing all purple-y against the night sky.

Last night I picked up my dear wife at the airport. She’d spent a week out in Denver with our youngest. On the way back to our home we stopped off for supper at Chuy’s Tex-Mex Restaurant on I-Drive, across the street from Uno’s, and a block north of the main entrance to The Orlando Eye. I’m beginning to like that place, but they need to do something about their tortillas. The best tortillas on I-Drive is, surprisingly, further south at Don Pablos. Sometimes I’ll go to the Dons and get a bowl of praire fire bean dip and a large stack of tortillas. Just for the tortillas.

When we finished the sun had set and The Orlando Eye was lit up once again in that garish purple color. So, naturally, I had to drive over and take a few quick snaps.

While there the place was crowded with tourists. For the time being at least it appears to be a pretty popular destination.

Once again I used the Key Line art filter and some more twiddling in Light Room to get that pseudo-illustrator look.

Perhaps one day I’ll manage to convince myself to take a ride on it. And then again, perhaps not.

elvis in orlando

As I start my seventh decade of life, I’ve been in deep discussions with my Canadian Muse about what to do with myself. It’s hard to fight time to be little more than an American Salaryman, and the young money out West want you to take your decades of experience and quietly move off somewhere invisible to finish dying. After all, when you’re young and rich, you think you’re invincible and forever beautiful. Funny how that always (without exception) is proven wrong every single generation. We all grow old and die. Or die young. But we all die, in spite of Ray Kurzweil’s most fervent hopes.

Anyway. What my Canadian Muse suggested is to pick up a personal photographic project. He wrote back to me that he thought my work on documenting my Bridge was a good example of writing and photography (thank you) and a good example of a personal project. He even used my work to start one of his own projects, here. So I’ve decided, after several false starts, to begin a new project, this one dedicated to the growing excess of tourist kitsch unique to Orlando. I don’t have enough to start a whole new blog, but it will have a unique category, Tacky Florida. I’m certainly not the first to document this bizarre side of Orlando. But perhaps, I can be unique and entertaining enough to warrant a bit of your time.

Historical note: I used to visit Tacky Fabulous religiously until the blog author stopped updating. It wasn’t just the photography that got to me, but the writing as well. Here’s hoping I can live up to that high standard in my work.

This first entry is, poetically enough, starting Elvis. A so-bad-it’s-funny bust of Elvis. The classic historical example of what happens when young money refuses to recognize the passage of time and the the way of all flesh. I can even smell the peanut butter, bananas, and bacon. My wife was down in south Florida visiting friends and I was out roaming for a place for supper when I drove past what I thought was a new Chevy’s Mexican restaurant on International. I need new glasses, because it was actually a Chuy’s (and I’m not sure how to pronounce that). I got out to walk over and check out the menu when I got sidetracked by Elvis. I just stood there in amazement and the rays of the setting sun illuminated Elvis in all their golden glory. Lucky for me my car was near by, so I was able to quickly hobble back and grab my GX1 and 20mm. I like that camera, as it looks like your old person’s point-and-shoot (everybody uses a cell phone, right?), not realizing that it’s a far better large sensor µ4:3rds camera. I grabbed a few shots before the maître d’hôtel came out the entrance where I was photographing Elvis to give me a quizzical look over. I moved on after that and ate across the street at Uno’s, my usual inexpensive sourdough grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup.


The night before all this happened I had to return an ill-fitting leather jacket my wife had picked up for me at one of the outlet stores. We had to drive across my Bridge to get there. While at that outlet mall I came across this.

if only it were

This company has a fabulous future in defense, especially in training and simulation. The fine print around the crookedly placed decal is “full motion visualization simulator.” It’s full motion in that it moves around in all directions intentional or not, it’s certainly visual, and it’s certainly simulating what a real ride would be like if you were actually on a real ride. All they need to do is paint it Army green, call it a Ground Combat Vehicle simulator, hire themselves a soon-to-be-retiring public official so they won’t loose any multi-billion-dollar contracts, and Bob will be their uncle. I wish them well.


I’m out these days with the Panasonic GX1 and 20mm pancake lens. I also have the 14mm with me as well for those wide angle shots. This marks the first time I’ve started adding my copyright to my photos. It’s a sad commentary on life, as I certainly don’t think I’ll have the world beating a path to my door for any of my photography. It’s more protection to keep from getting ripped off.