Thursday, October 27, 2005

Darth Vader Pumpkin Carving Template

At long last here are the Darth Vader Pumpkin Templates that everyone seems to be searching for.

I've made only one, but I'm including a negative version so that you can print it off without using a lot of in, and a regular version so that you can get a better idea of what it will look like.

In the top one, you cut out the black parts and in the bottom one, you cut out the white parts. Make sure that there are no "islands of pumpkin" floating in the middle of the parts you cut out.

I hope that you like this Pumpkin Carving Template that I have made. I recommend that you check the ads for pumpkin carving related notices. Often commercial sites have good ideas for carving pumpkins as well as free or almost free templates for carving. Someplaces also sell specialized pumpkin carving tools.

Click on the images to find larger copies suitable for printing. If you find that they print too small, don't worry about resizing them larger, because even if the quality of the image drops with the enlargement, you only need the outline to transfer onto the pumpkin.

If you find this useful, feel free to link to it using ""

-Gary Milner

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Perth Mint

We went to see the Perth Mint this morning with our flatmate. It costs $9.90, but if you have a backpacker card they give you the concession rate which is about $7.50.

The mint has some pretty interesting things. They have a gold pouring demonstraion where they pour molten gold into a mold to make a bar. The person talks about the history of the place, about all the tempratures involved and the safety gear.

They also give a tour of the mint where the person tells about the history of the mint and some of the things that went on there. The very first supervisor of the mint over-ruled the arcitect and builders who wanted a single large front door. The supervisor wanted two doors one for business (prospectors and miners) and one for use exclusively by his family. The doors both enter into the same room, but one was exclusive. The guide also explained that there were checkpoints for the guards that recorded the time when they arrived. The guards, however, discovered a way to forge the time recordings so on cold winter days they would just forge proof of their rounds instead of actually doing them.

Only one shot was fired while guarding the mint, that was when on guard shot another in the leg, presumably by accident. The mint only had one gun, so the guards had to share it. They say it was the most handled gun in Western Australia because one of the guards always had it in their possession at any given time.

The person doing the gold pouring said that pants with cuffs were banned at the mint while they were in fashion, because splashes of gold would get caught in them and the workers were found to be taking it home for themselves.

They also have a 12.5 kg bar of gold worth over $200,000 that you can pick up an handle.
If you are wondering why I don't have any actual photos of anything inside, they forbid photography in a misguided attempt of preventing people from casing it for a robbery as well as increasing post card sales.

Overall, if you are in Perth you should see the mint.

-Gary Milner

Monday, October 24, 2005

Happy Birthday Jackie

The 23rd was my sister Jackie's birthday. Year after year I wish her birthday was on the 31st. For some reason when I was little I thought it would be funny if Jackie was born on Halloween. Like it would mean she was a witch or something.

The thing is that even though I thought the idea up when I was eight or so, I still think it would be funny.

I have given notice at both my jobs now and so I only have 2 weeks worth of work here in Perth. I'm really looking forward to being unemployed again. We don't really know where we are headed other than a little sight seeing before we make it to the east coast. We'll be going to see Ayer's Rock and then on to Melbourne I guess. We don't know if we'll be staying in Melbourne or moving on to Sydney or Adelaide right away.


Saturday, October 22, 2005

More and more bad news

Just when I was thinking of using tequilla instead of gasoline in my car, a hurricane hits Mexico and now the price of tequilla is going to go up. You just can't win can you.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Halloween Pumpkin Fun

A SCUBA group in Bozeman Montana has come up with a new Halloween tradition: carving pumpkins underwater.

The biggest problem with carving pumpkins underwater is that they float. That's why scuba divers fill the hollowed gourds with rocks before taking them under.

This year about 16 divers gathered to take part in the event which takes place on a platform suspended about 15 feet below the surface of the water to prevent churning up mud and thus reducing visibility.

In other news, Bruce Bradford belives that pumpkins have no rights, at least that's what the bumper sticker on the side of his 120-foot cannon named, "the Second Amendment".

His goal of creating the cannon? To be the first person to shoot a pumpkin half a mile. Most pumpkin shooting competitions have at least three rules. The pumpkin projectile must weigh eight to 10 pounds, it has to leave the launcher intact and no explosives can be used.

The thing about Halloween here in Perth is that they don't celebrate Thanksgiving or Halloween (although there is some Halloween candy for sale). The stores and even some of the public buildings already have their Christmas decorations up and it isn't even November yet.

-Gary Milner

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

It must be nice...

Colorful Ryker
Originally uploaded by Jackie Hutch.
To be in Australia by the beach in the long hot summer. Everytime I look at the photos of a warm climate, I'm jealous and I think of how nice it would be. I can't see how you would ever want to come back. I was wondering if you could ever get tired of living near the ocean with such warm weather, and Gary said "you can't". So, that answered my question, and left me yearning to one day live there too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A little bit about me and my life

View from the top
Originally uploaded by Tracie Milner.
This post is from an email I wrote to my mom the other day. Gary says that any time I write a nice email, I should also post it on the blog. I know it's nice for you guys back home to read the blog and see what we've been up to, but we've been so busy living life that going downtown and sitting down to post is just an hour spent indoors that we could have been outside having fun. Anyway, here are some of my thoughts.

We are having a really great time here in Perth. I love living by the ocean. Every day we go fishing or body boarding, and the weather is just getting nicer and nicer. It's starting to be in the mid to high 20's regularly and it just puts you in a good mood when you wake up and the sun is shining and you know you're only 20 minutes from the beautiful coastline.

We are making some really good friends too. Michelle and Dermot are our closest friends. They live two doors down and Michelle is a nurse and Dermot is a carpenter. They moved here 2 weeks before us, she's from New York and he's from Ireland. Dermot is the one who taught us to fish and now he thinks he's made monsters out of us. They love it here in Perth and they've decided to stay until at least January, so we're a little torn about leaving, although we do want to move along and see the country. It's exciting to travel around, but it will be sad to leave also. I also made friends with a girl from work who's from Vancouver. She moved here 2 years ago on a holiday visa and she loved it so she got permanent residency. We have also made a few friends from church, although we really just go to church activities with them.

It's strange that just a few months ago when we landed at the Perth airport, I remember thinking that I didn't know what was in store for me. I didn't know anyone, I didn't know the city, I didn't know what kind of a job I would have or where we would live. Now I work here, have an apartment and I have more of a social life after 3 months than I ever did after 3 years living in Calgary. I really feel like I live here, and I'll be very sad to leave. I'll be walking down the street and run into people I know.

I think that maybe people are interested in talking to us because of our accents. It's an ice breaker to ask us where we're from, and then the next thing you know we're exchanging phone numbers and making plans and the rest is history. We've even gotten people's numbers that we've met on the beach. It's crazy.

Anyway, that's pretty much our life in a nutshell. Gary is working a lot. He works at the restaurant most evenings of the week and at the fruit and vegetable shop 3 days a week in the day. Yesterday he worked 9-3 at the fruit and veg place and then 4-11 at the restaurant. But it will only be for a few more weeks, and we're saving some money to do a few fun things. Plus we have a lot of fun on the weekends, usually fishing or swimming or seeing the sights of the city with Michelle and Dermot.

I do miss family, and I wonder what I'm missing out on back home, but at the same time I'm really glad I'm here. I think that living somewhere else really opens your eyes to the world. I realize that there are a lot of things that we have really good in Canada that I took for granted because I didn't know they were good until I left, and there are also things that are better here. I have a new philosophy that life is too short to spend in the same place doing the same thing, and it's certainly too short to waste any days sitting around at home instead of getting out there and living life. I'll never look back on my life and wish I had just stayed in Calgary (or even Canada) at the same job in the same house. I am really excited to do more traveling.
Needless to say, we are having heaps of fun. It's about 28 degrees now, (1:30 pm wednesday) and I'm just waiting for Gary to call and tell me he's done work and I'll meet him at the beach. I'm so excited to be heading into summer instead of winter.


Note to Jeff Follis: I tried to comment on your blog but I couldn't because I'm not a member of your blog. I tried to email you to tell you, but the email address I have no longer works.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

How to Cook Pumpkin Seeds

Many of you may be interested in a Pumpkin Seed Recipe


  • 1-2 Tbsp. butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Baking dish or sheet
  • Bowl
  • Cold water


  1. Preheat oven to 250 - 275.
  2. Wash and clean pulp off seeds and place in a bowl or shallow baking dish.
  3. Melt 1 - 2 Tbsp. of butter.
  4. Slowly add to seeds while tossing or stirring.
  5. Sprinkle with salt or other spice mix.
  6. Spread out evenly in baking dish or cookie sheet.
  7. Place in the oven.
  8. Check and stir them often until crisp and golden.
  9. Let them cool a few minutes and enjoy!

Experimenting with different types of seasonings will make the seeds a lot more enjoyable.

Here is a second pumpkin seed recipe


  • Pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • Salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Wash pumpkin seeds after removing from pumpkin.
  3. Soak in melted butter for 5 minutes.
  4. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spread seeds on it, keeping seeds from touching.
  5. Sprinkle with a little salt and bake 2-5 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Carving Links

Happy Halloween Everyone! I've noticed that traffic coming to my site through web searches is starting to be skewed towards pumpkin carving templates and pumpkin carving stencils so I decided to put up some links to these pumpkin-tastic sites.

If you came here through a google search, there are likely relevant ads. Commercial sites generally have lots of really good content that may be of use to you, don't overlook them.

History of the Jack O'Lantern

The Irish brought the tradition of the Jack O'Lantern to America. But, the original Jack O'Lantern was not a pumpkin.The Jack O'Lantern legend goes back hundreds of years in Irish History. As the story goes, Stingy Jack was a miserable, old drunk who liked to play tricks on everyone: family, friends, his mother and even the Devil himself. One day, he tricked the Devil into climbing up an apple tree. Once the Devil climbed up the apple tree, Stingy Jack hurriedly placed crosses around the trunk of the tree. The Devil was then unable to get down the tree. Stingy Jack made the Devil promise him not to take his soul when he died. Once the devil promised not to take his soul, Stingy Jack removed the crosses and let the Devil down.


PUMPKIN FRESH contains our powerful & unique breakthrough formulation - this is not a "coating", rather a powerful "absorbing fungicidal agent" which soaks into the flesh of your pumpkin masterpiece protecting it from mold, rot and decay, allowing it to keep its freshness much longer than if left untreated.

Pumpkin Carving Tutorial

Before you can begin to carve your design, you must prepare the pumpkin by removing the seeds and thinning the inner walls (save the seeds to make roasted pumpkin seeds, a wholesome snack). Depending on the complexity of your design, allow an hour or more to make your Jack O Lantern. By the way, the techniques outlined below will also work for carving turnips, some squash or even watermelons.

Fabulous Foods Halloween Page
Lot of Galleries, Patterns, Products, Etc...

Pumpkin Carving 101

Everything you need to know about carving a Jack O'Lantern, from choosing a pumpkin to the tools that you will need to carve it. You will also Patterns, Products, Etc...

Extreme Pumpkins

Interesting techniques for carving gourds. This page has been around for a long time. I linked to it a year or two ago. The have lots of information and tutorials about carving pumpkins as well as galleries of carved pumpkins. Lots of good ideas for carving as well as carving contests.

Zombie Pumpkins

Original Stencil Designs...some free..some not..reasonable pricing. Lots of great ideas including galleries depicting famous people and movies.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Visiting the Wave Rock

We rented a car in Perth and drove to the wave rock near Hyden, WA. It takes four hours to drive more or less. I really enjoyed the scenery. There are lots of sheep ranches and wheat fields. Seeing the wheat fields reminded me of home. That area seems a lot like Southern Alberta only a little more hilly and a lot more trees.

The Wave Rock wasn't quite what I expected. I think I had it confused with another rocky ridge I read about in Frommer's Australia or Lonely Planet or something like that.

The wave portion of the rock is probably only one-two blocks long and approximately 30 feet high. The rock itself is around 5 or 6 km around the circumfrence.
More cement wall
A few feet above the wave there is a stone fence that travels right around the top of the rock. The fence is used to catch rainwater and direct it into a reservoir. It is a genius idea, this reservoir was used for nearly 60 years, then in the 80's another similar catch water reservior was built on a similar rock 20km away. Hyden gets most of its water from the new reservior but is supplimented significantly by the Wave Rock Reservoir.

Dam Pano
This is a picture of the reservoir. You can see that they have put up a big chain link fence around it to keep people from swimming or fishing or generally messing in/with the water. I find the rust stains running down from the fence particularly interesting.

Trogdor the Burninator
As we were walking around on top of the rock, I heard some scratching on the rock behind me and I turned around to see what the commotion was. There was a little yellow snake trying to eat a lizard that looked just like this one. I didn't have time to get close enough or even to get my camera ready so there is no picture.

We saw this lizard later as we were walking around the bottom of the rock. It was a little difficult to get this photo because I had to be so close. There were 6 or 7 lizards just as big, all in the same area. I think they must have all been living under the same rock for protection. Everytime I get into a situation like this I am just kicking myself for not buying that long lens in Hong Kong.

-Gary Milner

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Here's a word you've never heard of---along with its origin and meaning.The word is "mondegreen" and it means "a misheard lyric". It originated with Sylvia Wright's mishearing of the phraise "Oh they have slain the Earl of Morray and laid him on the green." Miss Wright thought the words were---Oh they have slain the Earl of Morray and Lady Mondegreen.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


I find learning the origins of words and phrases fascinating. With winter coming here in Canada here's an origin that you might find interesting as well. The phrase is "Three Dog Night". This phrase originated with Canadian Inuit People. It gets very cold at night in the Canadian arctic. When a night is particularly cold---so cold in fact that you have to sleep with three dogs to keep warm, then that night is termed a three dog night. Stay tuned and I'll maybe tell you more origins from time to time.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Fishing for Fun and Profit

So we've been hooked on fishing.
We've caught a fairly large variety of fish already. Blow Fish, Silver Bream/Tarwhine, Brown-Spotted Wrasse and two others that we couldn't identify.

When Tracie's friend Michelle was casting, the weight hit Tracie and fell in the water. When Michelle reeled it back in, the fish to the right had been caught from amongst the rocks.

I Caught a Fish

Catching fish is pretty fun, especially when you catch them in pretty rapid succession.

The fish I'm posing with to the left is a Brown-Spotted Wrasse.

Tracie was very excited to eat the fish we caught. She didn't seem to see the point of catch and release, but is coming around a little. I told here that if she wanted to eat the fish we caught, she had to deal with cleaning and cooking them. As little experience as she has cooking fish, I have never cooked a fish. After seeeing Dermit clean the first one, she knew more than me about cleaning them because I haven't even seen it done since I went fishing on my Uncle Randy's boat 20 years ago. We ate him two days ago. There was a lot of meat on this fish which was nice. The Bream didn't have as much meat and had more bones.

Please Don't Eat Me!

To the right is one of the sliver Bream that we caught. Fremantle can sort of be seen behind him. We ate him last night and boy was he tastey. There is a related variety called Black Bream that have a black stripe at the tip of their tail.

More and more, I'm beginning to see the appeal of chartering a boat to go fishing. I've heard of a place that charges $90 for the day and supplies everything you need. It is pretty tempting. I guess they use their fish finders and what not to make sure that you can catch a pretty decent fish.

Puff Fishy

Here I'm holding one of the Blow Fish that I caught. They don't seem to puff up untill you are holding them or roll them onto their backs on the sand. You can see the spikes on his belly, they didn't poke that much, but the bigger puffer's spikes seemed to be a little worse than the smaller ones.

Every time we caught one of the blowfish, I thought of the line from the Simpsons when Lisa convinced them to go to the Sushi Place, "Poison, poison, yummy fish!".

Since blowfish have poison parts, Seagulls won't eat them. The first time we went fishing, I found four or five of them dried out on the bank of the river.

Another Fish

I had to cut my line, but after a little while, Michelle's line got caught in mine and she decided to pull mine in and got it un-stuck. This fish was on the hook. I was disappointed that I had to cut my line.

Here fishy, fishy.

Well, I think I'm hooked on fishing. Or the fish I catch are hooked anyway.

Saturday, Dermot and Michelle took us out to the Swan river for our first go at fishing. We caught a lot of blow fish, but nothing edible. It's pretty fun to reel in a fish, though.

Then yesterday, we went to Cottesloe beach and fished from a rock jetty. It was pretty fun, and we were catching heaps of fish - mostly blowfish again, but a few "real" ones. We spent all afternoon there, and the time just flew by. Dermot caught two white fish that we're going to cook up tonight, and Gary caught a green one that we had last night. I was in charge of beheading, gutting, scaling, and frying the fish. It sure is a brutal job and can make you lose your appetite, but I did feel like I owed it to the fish to eat them after all that.

The fish last night was melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and I'm really looking forward to supper tonight. We plan to buy a second rod sometime this week, so that we don't have to fight over whose turn it is to fish.

-Tracie, The FisherQueen