Marcus (marcus132) wrote,

Ray Caster's Sarasota: A Pictorial

Although I did live there through the mid-'90s, last week marked my first return to Sarasota, Florida since it became the setting for my fake-journal-turned-book, Caster's Blog: A Geek Love Story.

While I was in town I snapped some pictures of a few of the locations that Caster mentioned during his year of blogging. I was surprised how well my memory of the area landmarks served in some cases, and how poorly it served in others.

Be forewarned: This short pictorial contains many spoilers for the book!

A SCAT bus

This is a SCAT bus (Sarasota County Area Transit), as featured in the thrilling episode where Caster has to ride the bus to Siesta Key to retrieve his car.

The Ringling Circus Museum

This is the main entrance to the "Ringling Museum of Art's Museum of the Circus". Although he didn't realize it at the time, the Ringling Circus Museum is where Caster and HR Julie had their first date.

Discount Auto Parts

Although its real-world location makes no sense to the events of the story, I always pictured the Discount Auto Parts at 21st and Washington to be the store where Shadoe worked. Back in the day the place used to be a real dump, but at some point since I left town it received a major face-lift and became an Advance Discount Auto Parts. A girl working the register at this store once hit on me. Little did she know that she would inspire a fictional love interest years later.

Hollywood 20

Here is a picture of Sarasota's Hollywood 20 Theater. This is where Caster and his friends had all of their movie going adventures, although it is best known in my social circle as the place where uber-usher glide02 used to sneak us in for unlimited free movies.

Hollywood 20 box office

This is the Hollywood 20 box office, where Turbo Dan first met Tory.

The Circle K that wasn't

While we're on the subject of workplaces, this is the Circle K where I always imagined Turbo Dan worked. Much like Shadoe's auto parts store, its location at the corner of US41 and Pearl makes no sense logistically. You may also notice that it is actually a 7-11. My memory does not always serve me as well as it could.

Main Bookshop

Directly across the street from the Hollywood 20 is the Main Bookshop. This is where Caster bought his copy of Coraline, and where Shadoe was going to get a job when she moved back to Florida.

Selby Library

Speaking of Shadoe and books, this is the Selby Library: The place where she donated all of her books upon moving to California. See my previous entry to learn more about what the Selby library can't do to enhance your online hoax.

Golden Apple Dinner Theatre

This is the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre, which you may remember as the place where HR Julie took Caster to see Chicago. The Selby Library moved to its current location just before I had moved out of Sarasota, so I didn't realize that it is now directly across the courtyard from the Golden Apple. Had I known this, Caster probably would have spent the whole date pining over his lost love.

Video Library

Here is the Video Library where Caster and HR Julie used to rent all of their movies. As you can see, it is now a Movie Gallery. I don't even know if Video Library still exists in Sarasota. This could have been a potentially damning error if anyone had questioned it, but fortunately nobody did.

Tommy Bahama's

This is the Tommy Bahama's in St. Armands Circle. It was here that Shadoe unwittingly broke poor Caster's heart by telling him about the true nature of her relationship with Turbo Dan.

The 'spot'

Here we see Caster and Shadoe's "spot": A lifeguard stand on Lido Beach. I always imagined that the "spot" was right in front of the twin condos with the ugly bronze sculptural accents, but the last time I was on Lido Beach there was no lifeguard stand there! I guess this can be chalked up to life imitating art.

SRQ Airport

This is the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. The name itself is larger than the building. I guess the sprawl of LAX has bloated my expectations of what an airport should look like, but after not seeing ol' SRQ for five years it seemed much smaller than I remembered.

SRQ interior

Here is the place where Shadoe and Caster said their last teary goodbyes as she left for California, "right there between the Mote Marine fish tank and the stupid golf gift shop." If you don't remember that quote, it's because I just slipped it in as I was correcting a few typos that managed to make it into the first edition. So anyone with a paperback marked "Version 2.0" now officially owns a collector's item.

Sarasota County Terrace Building

Although there were more generic fast food restaurants and tangential strip joints to photograph, the last location I got a picture of was the Sarasota County Terrace Building. I'm almost positive that the DMV was in there in '97 or so. I don't have any idea what government business goes on there now, but this is the place where I pictured Caster and Shadoe having their quickie "DMV wedding."

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Oh, awesome! Thanks a lot for the photos..

BTW, when is the print version coming out again? That's something I wouldn't mind droppin' a coupla bucks on! Thanks!

It's out! Buy 'er up! ;-)


13 years ago


13 years ago

weren't we in sarasota for christmas of '03? that wasn't too long ago. i know you were mostly in Bradenton for that trip, but still...

and when do those new pix go up? UPDATE BITCH! :-)

I've been back in Sarasota since I moved away, but not since I started writing Caster's LiveJournal (February '04).

The pictures are up! Enjoy!


13 years ago

i used to work at the video library actually, the same one that you photographed. and i also think i was with you for the original trip to the DMV. ahh, the dull memories of Sarasota!
btw, movie gallery owns video library, so they just switched over to the larger corporate name. i would imagine the locals who have been there since back in the day would probably still call it "video library" just out of old habit, so maybe that could have slid by...


13 years ago


13 years ago

hooray for the pictures! really brings the story to life.
Wow, memories! Wait, something hazy is coming in...

I'm having this vague recollection of tagging along with you and your crew to that Video Library during my first week at school (while I was still searching for a lunchtable that would become my home). It was after dinner, and we all walked up there, rented Drop Dead Fred and -- maaybe Life of Brian? -- and then watched them in your dorm room. I want to say there was a "Welcome Back Spunky" banner on the wall.

Whew, maybe my brain hasn't completely shut down after all...

This seems like the sort of thing that was likely to happen, but I can neither confirm nor deny this memory.

You see, my brain has completely shut down...


13 years ago


13 years ago

WOW! This entry and several surrounding it slipped right past me somehow. I had just remembered czerka's journal, and wondered why he'd disappeared, and upon going to his site, found he posted a few days ago. I went several pages back in my history and found it, and also this! I almost missed the good stuff!

Anyway, what a bunch of flashbacks. I didn't see most of the places in the daylight usually, so they seemed far too bright and "real," but it was great to see them again. Behind the "Video Library," in the back of the mall (you had to go through that archway and then around the back corner) there was a little used record shop. That's where I bought my 10 classical CD collection. And a bunch of other stuff at the rest of the places. Thanks for the pics! I would never have remembered so much detail. I couldn't have written the Caster blog. I guess I also stayed on the campus itself a lot more than you. I'm such a homebody.

I remember that record store. I went in there one time long after graduation and there was a used CD wallet with Paul's name on it.

My immediate reaction was to just pick it up and give it back to him, but then I realized that he had probably dumped all of his discs there when he moved. I'm glad I didn't inadvertently shoplift it.


January 7 2006, 04:29:03 UTC 13 years ago

What's funny is they're all called SCAT buses no matter where they are, but the acronym stands for something different. In Sarasota it's "Sarasota County Area Transit." On the treacherous mountain roads of a republic formerly part of Yugoslavia it's "Southern Croatia Alpine Transportation."

A girl working the register hit on you. Riiiight. Sure it wasn't the other way around? Or were you in some bizarro universe where cash register girls hit on customers?

It's funny, but the only picture where I was like "That's not how I imagined it" is the picture of the box office. Maybe I just dream small.

Typos?!? Fuck! A list, please.


Seriously, she truly did hit on me. I remember it all these years later partially because of the peculiarity of being hit on by a girl working in an auto parts store, but mostly because it was the last time a girl ever hit on me.

As for the typos, there was one entry that had an incorrect count on the number of comments, just as I assured you that there wasn't.

thomtoffner also found these errors:
Page 133: She told me she tried calling night, but (missing "last")

Page 149: I was really worried about was what Tory was going (extra "was")

I probably introduced these errors after you had already edited the book. It's the sort of thing I do...


13 years ago


13 years ago

if you lj cut is a tribute to washington irving, i appreciate it. if it isn't i'm dumb.

I have no idea what you're talking about, so it would seem that I'm dumb.
IIRC, there is a Circle K up further on 41 around where Target is. There are also a number of low-budget trailer parks nearby, so the Shadoe being able
to walk/bike from her place to Turbo Dan's work thing was totally plausable
for me. No problems there.