Saturday, February 28, 2009
  Off to Costa Rica!

Glass frog, originally uploaded by Luís Louro.

I have been really bad about updating this thing lately.. which means all three of you have one less blog to read. :p

Anyway, we're off tomorrow to Costa Rica. I can't wait. :) My whole carry-on is camera stuff. It's ridiculous. And having this huge lens is totally throwing me off.. I usually use my favorite camera bag at all times -- that way, everything fits and I can wear it on my back, and if it starts raining I can just put my camera away.

But the camera with the lens won't fit into in the bag. Even just the lens won't fit. So what to do? You know, while walking all day or when we get caught in the rain, like last time. I'm improvising but it kinda sucks.

Anyway, tired. Back in a week!

Friday, February 27, 2009
  Home to Jeff Gordon Fans

Home to Jeff Gordon Fans, originally uploaded by DewCon.

Haha.. this was taken in La Farge, not far from my hometown. Whee!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009
  The Puppers

The Puppers, originally uploaded by estacey.

I couldn't get them all into focus with the aperture I had to use that late in the day... Which is too bad because so many of the pictures I took of them that day are really cute. I'll have to try again, earlier.

Taken with my "backup" camera - D70 w/ 50mm. I decided to not subject the D300 to being carried around in my rolling school bag.

Monday, February 23, 2009
  Hi, how cute is Macy?

Macy slathering on the icing, originally uploaded by estacey.

My sis sent this picture from Macy's birthday party.. She's so so so funny. I can't wait til she visits!!! I have all sorts of fun things planned - trips to the beach, playing in the pool, sidewalk chalk on the pool deck, going to Buca di Beppo and getting the BIG dessert platter and letting her do something like she's doing in the picture, letting her and Gretchen wear each other out...

Should be good times. :)

  I hate whalers.

I hate whalers., originally uploaded by estacey.

Photo Credit: AFP

I am reading Moby Dick right now for school and did an image search for whaling to put in my mind a picture of what was being described.

I found this one instead. A Japanese whaling ship hauling up a mother whale and her calf. I saw this long ago, when it happened, but seeing it again brought up the same sick feelings.



It's such bullshit. Whale killing under the guise of "research" - I really don't understand how they can get away with it.

It's 2009, people, we don't need WHALE OIL anymore.

I made a donation to Greenpeace a while back. I think I need to make another one. They prevented the Japanese whalers last year from missing their target... by about HALF. Incredibly awesome.


Buddies., originally uploaded by estacey.

This picture is uploaded courtesy of the new stacey theory of photography, in which pictures do not have to be technically perfect in order to be cherished. I had to go up to f 2.2 or 2.5 or something so both dogs would be on the "plane of focus" - so it's not as sharp as I'd like it to be. But, ya know, it's cute. So that's okay. [Repeat, it's okay!]

Sunday, February 22, 2009
  What's in your bag?

What's in your bag?, originally uploaded by estacey.

My effing shoulders get so sore from carrying my bag.

I took a picture of the contents.


Saturday, February 21, 2009
  So excited!!!
So I spent SO MUCH TIME agonizing over which lens to rent for the Costa Rica trip. I love the idea of getting to try a new, really nice lens out - and this is the excuse. :)

I ended up renting a 70-200 f2.8 VR lens from I went back and forth between getting that one and an 80-400 f4.5-5.6 VR.

For you non-camera folks, VR (Vibration Reduction) is Nikon's version of image optimization, like Canon's IS (Image Stabilization). This helps incredibly when you're zooming far away when any little bit of movement on your part can cause blur, and at low shutter speeds too.

I was worried that the 80-400 is basically a farther-zooming but not-as-good-quality lens as my 70-300. But still, I thought, I need the zoom. For the animals, you know.

I had decided to put in the lens rental request before I went to bed on Thursday night. At 3 a.m., I was still agonizing over it. Then I went to my old Costa Rica pictures and realized that I didn't need MORE ZOOM; I just needed a faster shutter speed (and therefore lower aperture) because all my pics were pretty close (under 200mm) but blurry due to the darkness of the forest.

This, for example, was taken at 110mm, 1/60, f5:


It's not so blurry (it's the only one I got that wasn't), but could've been so much better with a lower aperture.

Even this one was only taken at 180mm:


f5.6, shutter 1/50. (Let me just say that without the VR, this picture would not have been as clear at 1/50. Yay, VR!)

So, the 70-200 2.8 will (hopefully) be perfect! I considered getting a teleconverter, but with shipping it would've been an extra $60, and I really probably won't need it. I mean, there were things last time I couldn't get pictures of because they were too far away - like the sloths and the howler monkeys WAY UP in the trees. But they are so far away that even a 400mm zoom isn't going to help me. You can get passable pictures if you use that much zoom, but they're not good... so why bother?

Like this one, which was taken at my full available 300mm and cropped:
sloth n baby

I'd need a lot more than 400mm reach to get a good picture of the sloths. And those lenses, even to rent, are far out of my budget.

The way it is, I am paying $163 for a two-week rental. The lens is nearly $2,000 to buy, so I am very happy with this whole renting thing. :)

I kinda feel / hope that my photography has improved since we took that vacation a little over a year ago. I hope I still feel that way when I get back!!

My lens should be here Wednesday or so. The only problem is that I'm worried I won't want to send it back when my vacation is over...!
Friday, February 20, 2009
  Cahuita - Costa Rica

Cahuita - Costa Rica, originally uploaded by bucky925.

As of earlier today, our trip to Costa Rica was going to be more or less a repeat of the last one.

Then I started whining about wanting to go to the sloth sanctuary, and we set out to see if it was feasible. And it turns out that the drive ain't gonna be fun, but we can do it.

So now it's all changed. I think we'll still go to Monteverde -- the landscape was so pretty, and there's a frog place and a bat place there I didn't know about before. But, amazingly, I just decided that we shouldn't go to Manuel Antonio, where SO many of my pics were taken last time. I would love to, but I think I'd rather see new things and not be stressed about time than trying to hurry it up so much so we can see it all.

Monteverde will be out the window, too, if I can find something that sounds even more appealing; I'm going through the guidebook (and Flickr pics!) now.



CatLady4Life, originally uploaded by The Dainty Squid.


[Tattoo, not Sharpie. !!!]

Wednesday, February 18, 2009
  What to send to my sponsored child?

I read a book on slavery in the modern world and afterwards I felt sad and helpless. I tried to think of something I could do... and right there, at like 3 in the morning, I decided to sponsor a child. It's a small thing, but I think it is actually a good thing with a good impact. My monthly contribution is pooled with the contributions of others and it goes towards the local school and health care facilities.

Parents sometimes in poor villages in Haiti sell their children to people from the cities, after they're promised their children will be well cared for and educated. Of course, they don't follow through and often mistreat the poor kids. They are known as "restavecs".

The sponsors are encouraged to send letters to the child, with perhaps a photo. You can send a gift, too, but it should be small and inexpensive. I couldn't decide what to send her... I got hair ties, which I thought might be a nice little surprise for a cute little girl, but was wondering if anyone else could think of something that would seem appropriate? She's five and lives in rural Haiti.

  Really quite weird
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
  Buddy really is incredibly cute.

Buddy really is incredibly cute., originally uploaded by estacey.

Today I skipped school. I felt bad, but it felt gooood. I have three absences allowed in each class, so now I'm on two (the first one was when we were in San Francisco), which is far from ideal, but it's okay. I always do this - miss classes strategically - so by the end of the semester, I HAVE TO GO TO CLASS NO MATTER WHAT.

Anyway, I realized this afternoon that Tuesday is the day Patty can't come home during lunch to let the dogs out. Not usually a problem since I stop by between classes. But since I was skipping... Well, I had to go to Boca today anyway. But I took Maggie with me and she had fun wrestling with Buddy and running at full speed in circles in Patty's yard.

I've been keeping my camera with me, ever since I got the smaller camera bag that fits in my purse. It's a heavy addition to an already heavy bag, but it's well worth it. I got some really cute pictures, including this one. Buddy really is a cutie, isn't he?

And I swear, I'm always learning when it comes to photography. I did something wrong with this picture... I didn't meter for the dog; I metered for the whole area. So Buddy is too light. Thankfully I realized it while shooting and changed the exposure compensation, but would've been better off just doing the center-weighted metering.

Boring you yet? Hehe. I guess it's just nice that I'm actually spending time taking pictures again, and thereby learning. I end up deleting most of what I take, but sometimes I get a keeper and that makes me happy. :)

Monday, February 16, 2009
there's this restaurant close to here.. cafe martorano. it's like a joke 'cause forever i just knew it as the place that had like a dozen goomba-lookin' fellas standing outside talking on their cell phones. i guess the food is good... but it's like $100 for two people to eat there. chris is always saying we should go there, but then remembers that the ambiance is so lame. it's like over-tanned middle-aged women with fake boobs and the men that love them.

also, one of my math teachers.. this flaaaaming old dude with a pinkie ring who had the WORST new yorker accent EVER... and he was, like, always dressed like he was going to go out clubbin' and was trying to reclaim his youth. it came up one day that martorano was his favorite restaurant. yeah, big surprise.

apparently two celebs ate there saturday:

i couldn't get over the pics of the dude from martorano who was in the pics.

Friday, February 13, 2009

P1030963, originally uploaded by SFlaRC51.

this dude from boot camp is sick so instead of working out on monday night brought his camera. i saw the flash go off every now and then but wasn't sure what pics he was taking.. now i see! long exposures!

i'm in here somewhere. i thought this pic was cool cos it kinda looks like everyone is just a torso. :D

Wednesday, February 11, 2009
  I've been meaning to write this post since the weekend.
But haven't found the time. I found time now. Because I should be studying for my test on Holocaust Lit tomorrow. (Yes, it is the barrel of laughs it sounds like it would be.)

I saw this article in the Sun-Sentinel laaaate on Saturday night. It's about a local girl named Sofia Armstrong, five years old, who was diagnosed with leukemia late last year.

They were hosting a local bone marrow testing drive at her former school on Sunday here in Fort Lauderdale. The bone marrow testing isn't nearly as painful as it sounds like it would be; you simply fill out an application, then use this swabbing kit to swab the inside of your cheeks. That's it!

What I did Sunday afternoon.

Finding a match is extremely difficult, but if they do, it could really help her. Chris said it depends on the kind of leukemia she has, but one of the types that is very common to children (I think there are two types common to children) is something like 80% curable with a bone marrow transplant. I had him dumb it down for me: They basically flush out all her (cancerous) white blood cells, then do the bone marrow transplant, and then the new white blood cells she makes are based on your new, good marrow. Sorry if I got any of that wrong, but that's how I understood it.

Not only would my swab be tested to see if it's a match for Sofia, but it will be put in the national registry in case my marrow could help someone else. Less than 1% of folks on the registry are ever contacted to donate, but the ones that are can incredibly increase a patient's chances.

A lot of people showed up to the drive, actually. So many that they ran out of swabbing kits at around 3:30 (when I was there) for a drive that was going until 5. I had my camera with so had something to bide my time until the swabs arrived. It was really nice to see so many people out there with their families to try to help this little girl most of them don't know.

Hello there, says the baby!

The parents of these two (and two more!) were getting tested.

So anyway, keep an eye out for things like this. You can go to to see if there are any testing/drives in your area. I think you often have to pay $52 (tax-deductible donation) in order to have your tissue tested and into the registry. We didn't pay anything at this drive, but I can't say anything about the drives in your possible area.

For any South Floridians, they're having another drive later in February for Sofia.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
  my goodness!
if you have a cameraphone you use, make sure to clean it off regularly!

today i noticed that the little lens thing on the back of my blackberry had a lot of dust on it.

i had just taken this picture:

Clock? Ticking? Me?

after i cleaned it off, everything i took pictures of looked so awesome and bright! so i took the above picture again:

I cleaned off the little camera lens.

there's definitely some sun flare or something going on in that first picture.. but still, it's pretty damn amazing what a difference that made.

and yeah, i got that book for $1 at Target. you know, at the cheapo station at the entrance of the store? when i have kids i definitely want to do this signing thing. what would prompt me to purchase that book NOW? well, tick tock.
Monday, February 09, 2009
  This is what it's like to do really anything at our house.

Saturday, February 07, 2009
  Chris almost hit a monkey with his car today.

Yes, on top of every other crazy thing we have here, apparently we have monkeys!

mine has been going crazy lately with all the lit classes i'm in.

i appreciate creative interpretations to literature. sometimes i feel they're beyond me.. like, there's a nice girl in one of my classes. looks very bookish, apparently loves to sky dive. she made the statement the other day in class that ahab... before his real appearance in the novel, when he is still holed up in his cabin and a big mystery.. that he is something like god, in the pagan sense. i was impressed that she could think of it that way. i certainly didn't.

but then take my holocaust lit class. in 'night' by elie wiesel, wiesel grapples with the idea of fasting at yom kippur. at auschwitz, should he fast, when it would just hasten his death (seeing as how he was so malnourished to begin with)? wiesel kind of abandons the idea of god - and he eats his rations with gusto.

one smart lady who's in a few of my classes made the observation that the passage where he eats on yom kippur is full of symbolism. like when he eats his bread.. even though he's rejecting god, he's eating the bread, which is a symbol for believing (she acknowledged it's not a jewish thing, but insisted that it held that symbolic meaning anyhow). i'm like... uh, no. yes, his eating was an act of defiance to the god he felt had abandoned him. but the choice of food was not up to him; soup and bread is all they got to eat in the camps. he had nothing else to "nibble at" in the book, to reject god. he sucked down his soup and nibbled his bread. for christians, bread is the body of christ. for jewish people.. there is no christ. SO. sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, you know? am i crazy for being perplexed at how someone could get that out of the guy eating?

i think that being in these classes has really made me realize i could not be, say, a professor of literature. obviously books are open to interpretation, but it seems like so much of interpreting literature is injecting your own bullshit into it rather than being reasonable about it. my favorites are when theorists try to project current issues onto centuries-old literature. arr!
One of my professors emailed me to let me know she would like to nominate me for an award at school. "Distinguished student" - whatever that means. The whole idea makes me very nervous... I don't really know if I'm the person to nominate. But anyway. Whatever anxieties I have about it are trumped by the fact that the winner gets $1500.

So I basically responded to the teacher to thank her, outlining my concerns, and asked her if she really thought I should be nominated.

There is probably someone much more deserving than me.. I see single moms who are working full-time while taking classes. They have a bigger load to carry than me.

But it was still nice to have the professor think of me. And also, the $1500 would be really pretty awesome. (Hi, Nikon 28-70 f2.8, how are you?)
Friday, February 06, 2009
I get the Cute Overload emails, so I rarely go to the site. Then every once in a while (procrastination of something dreaded and school-related is usually involved) I go there to catch up on the videos. And I end up laughing so hard I cry, and I wonder why I don't go more often.

This video... They pointed out the, "If only more people had sucks..." line, and it's true - best part!

so the census folks called me. they were interested in me for one of various office positions. i was like, yay, good!

$11.25/hr. okaaaay, not so great, but for part-time work, whatever.

then the guy says it is a part-time job, 25 hours or so a week, but i have to be available for up to 40 hours per week. i explained that i'm a student and go to school all day two days per week and do need time to read my books, so i couldn't really do 40 hours, especially if it were long term. he kinda danced around that question.

oh, also, training starts on monday and lasts for 1-2 weeks. i said that's okay. "but then i have to come tuesday?" "yes," he said. i'm like, okay, (i repeat) "i have class all day tuesday." i can't come from 8-5 monday through friday for two weeks in a row. then i mention that i'm on vacation for a week at the beginning of march. he talks to his supervisor. they say they'll call me back during the next round of hires.

i'm just like.. uh. they say census jobs are a good job for students, etc. but like.. my only conditions are that i'm unavailable tuesdays and thursdays (aside from my week off), yet they can't seem to work with that.

whateverrrrrrrrr. i'm starting to think about substituting again. just telling a school that i can sub any friday they need me. sigh.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
  as seen on cute overload

Poor little Fella, originally uploaded by Velovotee.

this is just way too cute... it's been real hot apparently. so this lady finds that a koala has come onto her back porch in search of relief. she fills up a bucket and there's a sequence on cute overload that shows the koala testing the water, then licking it, then hopping in for a bit of a soak.

so ridiculously cute.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009
  Sebastian's "Please rub my belly" face

Monday, February 02, 2009
  Day of a thousand posts
But this is the last one, I promise.

I wanted to share the cool new set-up I made for the bunnies. See, George is still technically Patty's... And they are supposed to go live there, but she isn't in any hurry to get them and I'm not in any hurry for them to go, so for the time-being they are still here. I hope they get to stay for a good, long while. Which is funny.. I never liked bunnies in particular. I mean, they're cute and all, but I didn't feel anything special for them. Even when George lived here before... I gave him treats and took him out sometimes, but solely out of his (her) well-being rather than any desire on my part. But now? Now I really love them and they make me happy.

This was the old hutch. Good setup for them, but pretty much an eyesore. Chris's friend stayed here last week and made some comment about how it made the place look like "Redneck Riviera, not Bermuda Riviera" (the latter is our neighborhood name). I'm like SHHH!

New bunny, new (not really) cage

But then I found a new, much smaller but much nicer hutch on Craigslist for $50. I went to go get it and put it in the truck and was driving home when the roof flew open and broke off and landed on Federal Highway (by Sunrise, for you who know of what I speak).

I pulled all the way to the left - into the turn lane - and hopped out and started to run back to get it off the street. Then I realized that Maggie was in the car, and thought, "Oh, no, did I leave my door open?!" I turned around in time to see her hopping out of the car door. Thankfully she listens - when I yelled, "Maggie!" frantically, she knew something was up and sat down. I ran back, scooped her up, then ran back to the hutch roof... In time to witness two cars running it over. Argh. But it still functions, so I guess that's okay.

New hutch

I put a baby gate around the hutch and leave the door open so they have plenty of room to hop around and poop. I've added a little wall (mat) for them since I took the picture, so they have some privacy underneath the hutch. I have a big area rug down for them, and under the entire enclosure I have a tarp put down so no more accidents on the tile.

They can get out, too... Their room is bunny-proofed, and I never saw them coming out anyway. Then we found like a half-pound of poop behind various pieces of furniture in our bedroom yesterday, so now the buns are confined to their pen unless I let them out, but then they have the run of the whatever-you-want-to-call-that-room room.

New hutch

They seem to like the new setup. They never left their old hutch... This one, they're out of it all the time. And instead of just sitting, they're munching their salad and chewing on phone books and standing on their hind legs in a bid to get a treat for cuteness.

This is Thumper. He is woefully unrepresented in this photostream, but he's nearly impossible to get pictures of.

Thumper is cool with you holding him like a baby. One of these days I'm gonna get Chris to hold him and get on a stepladder to get a cute picture of it.

My friend George, who uses me for food.

You gotta admit, the bunnies are pretty cute.

Not the most cooperative when it comes to picture time.

Another good thing is that the old hutch is outside. I want it to work with their outdoor pen somehow, so they can have a safe hutch to go hide in and some grass to run in. But that'll take some work. In the meantime, it can be used tomorrow to house those two white rabbits for the day if I can get them off of Craigslist. They can go to the wildlife center tomorrow night, but it'll serve as a spot for them for the day at least. :)
  New bike seat - a birthday gift from Chris

I've been riding bike a little more than normal recently, so Chris had the thoughtful idea (after hearing me whine about my sore ass) to get me a big, comfy bike seat. The presentation went something like this...

Me: Oh! And it's nice and big. Good for my big ass!

Chris: Yep, good for your big ass.

Me: I can't wait to tr... Wait, what did you say?

Chris: Nothing.

Oh, and the Lensbaby is a sort of birthday gift to myself. Or a student-loans-came-in-and-woefully-in-debt-may-as-well-live-a-little gift to myself.

  Gretchey Poo-Poo Potty

Gretchey Poo-Poo Potty, originally uploaded by estacey.


Sunday, February 01, 2009
  People who suck strike again

Um, hi, neglect?, originally uploaded by estacey.

These poor girls were listed on Craigslist. They're girls, friendly, free, and the current owner says "You can do whatever you want with them." Does that include snake food? Or pit bait? It seems as if they don't care.

Look at these conditions! All-wire floor. Nowhere to hide. Hardly room to turn around. And they must be outside, where it gets WAY too hot for rabbits here.

I am trying to get these bunnies tomorrow so I can drop them off at a local wildlife center. I guess they generally claim to be full, but one of their volunteers said they will take them in and try to adopt them out. In the meantime, the conditions at the Center will be "like heaven" compared to how they're living now.

Wish me luck that the guy responds!


Sick nest., originally uploaded by estacey.

i so sick. as usual, i got sick a little while after chris did. it wasn't bad until today, but now.. ugh. real bad. thank god for these 4-day weekends. (let's just hope i'm significantly better by tuesday!!!)

so the superbowl is today. normally i wouldn't care - at all. but chris is crazy about the steelers, along with half the country apparently. so he's been playing this damn steelers polka and some some that goes "pittsburgh's goin' to the superbowl - here we go..." he's out there right now, yelling at the tv.

um, okay, i think that's all. back to sniffling and watching the same episodes of law & order for the, like, 60th time. :)

I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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