Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Botched self surgery

It's been a few days since I had the growth under my arm freeze-dried at the doctors office. The growth has been sort of slowly withering since that time but it feels sore and irritating. The soreness and irritation is what gave me the idea to do some self surgery in the form of quickly slicing it off once and for all . What I really wanted to do was use a sharp knife or razor blade but that was not possible because to do this you have to hold the growth with one hand and slice with the other hand. The solution was using a pair of scissors. What I failed to remember is that usually in a case like this you should really have someone pulling on the growth the same as you would if you were using a knife. So the inevitable happened. The growth merely wedged between the blades of the scissors. Luckily I never passed out from the pain or loss of blood and was able to stanch the bleeding by the application of pressure and toilet paper. This isn't the first time I've botched self surgery.

What's My Name Again

So I've been temping at a place where they sell cable tv, broadband internet and deal with people switching between telephone companies. On my first day there I had this exchange.

"This is everyone, everyone this is-what's your name?"



"No, Gary"


"No, Gary"


"No, Gary"

I must mumble pretty bad, because several people over the last few days have thought my name was Kerry. Anyway, over the next few days the team leader and one other person have been calling me Jerry. I thought it was funny for the first few days and so I didn't say anything. The few days after that I thought that some of the other people who learned my real name would tell her. Now it's been over two weeks and I'm too embarassed to tell her that my name isn't Jerry. Really it's embarassing for both of us.

I just don't know what to do. I feel like George Costanza, only he could get himself in to a position where he would have to pretend to have a name other than his own.

I'm thinking of dealing with it over email so that I don't have to do it in person or find a way so that other people don't overhear. That seems like it would be the least embarassing for everyone involved. That and I don't have one of those name tags that say, "Hello my name is"

-Gary Milner

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Of Wolves and sled dogs

According to todays quote of the day on google: "In politics, you must always run with the pack.
the moment you falter, the rest sense that you are injured and will attack you like wolves."
Well I hope the politicians don't feel like lone rangers or anything because this phenomenon
is sadly very common everywhere. I could right a book on the subject.

Modern medicine

I went to the doctor the other day to have a finger like growth removed from under my arm.
He first had a look at it and then he went out of the room and came back in with a steaming cauldren of liquid hydrogen. I had heard of such a thing but I had never actually seen it. Well he rubbed some of the hydrogen on the growth using a q-tip, being very careful not to get any on himself. He said the growth would shrivel up and fall off in a few days. It hasn't done it yet but thats beside the point. The point is I was reminded of old western movies that had scenes of oldtime cowboys doing field surgery. They could cure about anything by heating up a hunting knife to a red glow and then liberally applying it to the affected area. I remember thinking that this was a pretty barbaric practice. But no more. Now I know that what they were doing was actually pretty high tech because doctors are still doing something similar till this day.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Excerpts from the Simpsons

Homer: Are you saying your never going to eat any animal again?
Lisa: No.
Homer: Ham?
Lisa: No.
Homer: Pork chops?
Lisa: Dad, those are all from the same animal.
Homer: Heh, heh heh...ooh...yeh...right, Lisa. A wonderful...magical animal.
Homer (praying), Dear Lord you have been very good to me. As an offering I present these milk and cookies . If you want me to eat them instead, please give me me no sign whatsoever...thy bidding will be done (glomp glomp glomp)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I Hit For Six or You Need a Crumpet to Play Cricket

I played cricket for the first time today. It's about as easy as it looks. It would be easier with a little instruction though.

The worst part of it is that over the course of a four hour game, each player besides the catcher is involve in about 10 minutes of actual playing.

Fielding is fine, you go out into the field and when the ball comes to you, you catch it or pick it up and throw it to the people who are standing near the stumps. These are the people actually playing the game.

Batting is a little more complicated, especially when everyone says, "Just hold the bat however it feels comfortable." This would be fine because it doesn't really matter how you hold the bat as much as it matters how you swing the bat. They don't seem to think that it's important to tell you which way to swing the bat. But I'll tell you. Hold the bat perpendicular to the ground. Swing the bat perpendicular to the ground. No matter how bad the bowler is, they want to hit the stumps with the ball. The ball will eventually go near the stumps. It's a lot like baseball in that way. Eventually a pitch will come into the zone where you are expecting it and you can hit it.

I figured it out after about five overs which is about 30 pitches. Luckily it's practically impossible to get people out in this game. After I caught on to where they were pitching (the strike zone in baseball is in a different time zone) I found that I could hit at least as well as I can at baseball.

I scored 10 runs which isn't many when you consider that people who actually play the game score in the hundreds on a routine basis. I'm pretty sure that I got the fourth most runs on my team, but I didn't look at the score sheet after everyone had had their turn.

The most difficult part for someone who has never played cricket is bowling. You have to throw the ball overhand without bending your arm more than 15 degrees. Don't let a cricket fan hear you use the word throwing though. Throwing involves bending you arm and they will look at you with contempt.

-Gary Milner the Cricketeer

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Shop

I did a bunch of photos for the shop the other day and made a set on flickr. If you would like to see them, here they are.

I think it may have given the impression that the shop is ready to go, but it isn't yet. Some of the photos were taken at a friend's vineyard in the Swan Valley, and the rest were taken at the wholesale market in Canningvale, in southern Perth.

All in all, the photos turned out well, but I need to edit them a little before we get them printed. We are getting 13 or so printed for the wall at the shop, about 4 feet by 6 feet. They will be the biggest enlargements I have ever had done.

It looks like the temping job is going to last a little longer than I expected, maybe two more weeks or so. they seem a little back logged.

-Gary Milner

Friday, January 20, 2006

Flight to Perth

Tracie's flight to Perth arrived 20 minutes early, which was nice because she must have been landing at just about the same time I was arriving at the airport. I was very excited to see her and it has been very nice having her back with me after two weeks.

I found a flat to rent, although I don't know how long we will be staying there. It is pretty small and doesn't have a washing machine. We might be able to share with the landlords but I never discussed it. It is pretty nice and pretty cheap at $120 per week. I guess we'll be looking for another place soon though.

Things are getting done for the shop bit by bit.

Working as a temp has been good. The place where I am now sells telecomunications services and cable tv. There are telemarketers in the backroom, but I do report checking until 3:00pm or so and then data entry.

From what I have seen it seems to me that a lot of problems that people encounter with signing up for broadband internet could be solved by having the paperwork more clearly organized and with more straight forward questions.

In any case I am getting very good at finding short stings of numbers in the middle of long strings of numbers.

-Gary Milner

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Fare thee well, Sydney

Originally uploaded by Tracie Milner.
Well Sydney, I am sad to be writing a goodbye letter to you since I hardly even got to know you. I haven't even left yet, but I miss you already.

Sydney is a beautiful city, there's no doubt about that. Of all the cities I've seen in Oz, this one has probably been the one to take my breath away the most. That being said, most of the cities and towns that I've visited here have had some appeal.

Strolling along the Yarra in the evening in Melbourne was spectacular... Overlooking Hobart and the Tasman bridge from Mt Wellington was a sight to behold... and for sure taking in the beauty of the sunset over the Indian Ocean at Cottesloe beach in Perth is something that I'm looking forward to seeing again.

Although the world is a lot smaller than I once thought it was, I can't help but think that there's just too much to do and see to fit into one life time. It's a bit overwhelming. Everyday that goes by is like sand slipping through my fingers. I can tell it's slipping and there's nothing I can do about it. Well...

I'm a bit emotional these days. Although I'm having a wonderful time, it's just going by so quickly. Tonight I fly to Perth.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Temping in Perth

Things are going good here in Perth.

Yesterday morning, I went to a vineyard to help the Nick and the owner out with a little weeding in the mango grove. The owner is 71 and hasn't had time to get to it and the weeds were getting pretty high. Nick wanted to lose some weight and do a good turn to the guy at the same time.

We finished two rows of about 12 trees each and were sitting down for some cheese and crackers when I got a call on my cellphone. I wondered who it could be because no one calls me except Tracie and I have a special ring tone assigned to her. Low and behold it was the temp agency Hudson. I hadn't had a call from them for three months! They asked if I was still in Perth and would I please come in to do some temping. They needed me in asap and could I be there by 11:00? I told them that 12:00 would be more realistic but they conviced me to be optimistic and so I said I would try to be there by 11:00.

I worked the rest of the day there and then again for the entire day today. They actually want me to come in for the next few days. It is close to being one of the most boring jobs I have ever had, but also one of the highest paying, so I can't complain.

But when it comes to the best news ever, nothing comes close to the fact that Tracie is coming to Perth on Friday. I am very excited. Being away for two weeks was killing me slowly. I can't wait to see her.

The shop is coming along well, we have a lot of the things sorted, the final plan for the cool rooms has been settled, the doors are on, the roof is almost finished if not finished today. The displays are under construction and the tills are on order. We decided not to get a big truck and so we are going to make do with the little truck and a trucking line. The trucking contract is under negotiations.

All that is left for me is to find a flat by Friday. I have a granny flat that I will be going to see tonight, and I think that it might be just the thing for us as it is mostly furnished already.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Banara Fresh!

We went to the shop today to get things sorted. Nick's son is building all the checkout counters and displays for us.

Nick spent about two hours discribing everything he wants built and the various issues that will have to be over come. Such as the load bearing posts in the middle of the shop. It looks like they will all be in the middle of the displays and won't get in the way.

The shop is 655 square meters which is 7050 sqare feet. About 1/3 will be taken by the back room and cold storage.

The opening on the left will be covered by a roller door, but it won't be used it is only to comply with bylaws. The middle door is the customer entrance/exit. On the right is the loading door and a back entrance.

The cool rooms are going in the far right corner. The office and toilet are going in the far corner near where the people are standing and the back room will surrond that.

We met with the guys from the refrigeration company to discuss how we want the cool rooms to be. They are ordering all the supplies on Saturday and the coolroom should be finished by late feb.

Nick's son is starting to build the displays etc. in Nick's garage on Monday. It's a hugh job compared to building a kitchen- and building a kitchen is a big enough job in and of itself.

We went to look at a pair of our competitors and our shop is going to be bigger than both of them combined, size wise, and we will have more varieties of products than them as well. One is an asian grocery store and the other is a regular supermarket. Neither has a good produce section. Nick and I are confident that we will be able to provide a higher level of service and take care of the produce more effectively. By that I mean keep it looking nicer and have less spoilage.

This shop is going to be very profitable and I'm sure that we are going to be exteremely busy there.

-Gary the Fruiterer.

Driving Rental Cars in Australia

So, I've been here in Australia for almost six months. We've rented cars from Avis and Bayswater rental cars, and a place that rents campervans to backpackers, and I've pretty well aclimated myself to driving on the left for the most part. I'm not making the same mistakes as at first anyway.

The thing is now that I'm here in Perth by myself, I rented a GTA: Vice City for my laptop from a video store and I've found that I don't really like driving on the right hand side in the virtual world. Head on collisions are a major problem when my charater is running away from the police.

I wonder if they will ever produce a left driving version or mod of the game for Aussies or Brits. I bet the issue of left side drivers never crossed their minds.

-Gary Milner

Monday, January 09, 2006

Backmasking Unmasked

My brother Jeff, was interviewed for the Wall Street Journal about a month ago, and the article was on the cover on Monday.

Jeff set up a website that shows people a little about Backmasking. Which is basically including a message recorded in reverse into a song. Wikipedia has an interesting article about backwards messages.

Getting on the cover of the Wall Street Journal is the first major non-internet attention that Jeff has received and it has spawned a bunch of radio interviews. With the major national networks in the States and just about every major Canadian newspaper is running an article and the local papers are falling over themselves for interviews. I guess it makes a big splash in Canada when an unknown Canadian kid makes the cover of the Wall Street Journal.

Now if only David Letterman needs a three minute segment, or Regis and Kelly. I'm sure Jeff would settle for Maury though.

-Gary Milner

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Truck Shopping

I went truck shopping with Nick today. He wants to get two trucks for the shop a three ton truck that will hold four pallets and a five ton truck that will hold ten pallets of fruit and vegs of course.

We stopped by a few places but they wanted a little too much for their used trucks. We are going to scan the classified ads to see if we can find a private sale first.

There is the chance of buying two new trucks but that is an added risk. If we could be sure of doing our goal level of business in the first month, the new trucks would be fine.

The only issue is that we would have to find trucks that already have canvas covers. There is a three month wait to get one built on a new truck, and we would need it before then.

We also went to see the building where the shop is going to be. It's huge! It will be big even when all the fittings are in. It's starting to look really good. I'm getting very excited to see it and to start.

I didn't take my camera with me this morning, but I will be doing photos to show the progress of the shop as soon as I can. I'm going to get my forklift licence asap as well as a class 'b' licence so that I can drive the bigger of the two trucks as a back up. The plan is for me to drive the smaller one to bring an early load from the market.

Things are looking really good as far as the shop is concerned. We are in the process of getting quotes from everyone right now and we will be ready to go at the beginning of March.

-Gary Milner

Friday, January 06, 2006

Alone in Perth

This photo isn't actually in Perth, but it illustrates things very well.

It is funny, but I find flying without Tracie a lot less stressful than flying with Tracie. I guess it must be because I'm less worried about things going wrong when I don't have her to take care of. I'm sure that she thinks that I don't really take care of her as much as she takes care of me though.

I got to the airport and did self check in because I had purchased my ticket over the internet. The only ques I had to stand in were to drop off the bags and to actually get on and off the plane. I believe Tracie's uncle Jeff when he advises to travel with only carry on luggage as much as you can.

I rode the bus to Nick's house, but his friend wasn't home when he went to drop off the key. He hid it with the intention of calling me and telling me where to find it, but you have to turn your phone off on the airplane.

To make the best of things I went for a dip in his pool and then headed down to the beach after dumping my stuff in his backyard.

When I got back they were home and they decided to take me out to dinner.

Nick is single-mindedly a business man. He spoke to the owner of the restaurant while we were sitting at the table and told him that he was opening a fruit shop that specializes in selling by the box and that the restauranteur should come by when it opens. Nick got the man's card to call him when it opens.

Having just 10 restaurants come by a week means a couple of thousand extra in sales every week. They are quick sales too, a few minutes in and out.

Tracie is picking up shifts in Sydeny. I don't know if she has had any shifts there yet. Maybe she'll let us know in a little while.

-Gary Milner

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Opium Poppies Aplenty

One of the more interesting things we saw in Tasmania that we weren't expecting to see were the wonderful fields full of opium poppies.

Now, I know they're not fundraising for Al Qiada, and that they not making opium or heroin, but it is pretty fun to pretend.

The world's supply of morphine and other opiates has to come from somewhere, but I would never have said, "I think that pharmacutical companies get the raw materials for morphine from North West Tasmania."

It just doesn't sound right. That and the fact that the only things that seem to guard them is a barbed wire fence and this sign. It did prevent us from making any illegal use of the crop, so who am I to judge.

I always imagined them to be more red and have more pins.

-Gary Milner

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Koala a la Great Ocean Road

On our three day road trip along the Great Ocean Road we left our Avis rental car for a few minutes to see the Koalas.

Tracie had stopped to call her family on Boxing day and Steph went for a little walk along a side road. I went down to the beach. When we all met back up, Steph took us to see the Koalas.

As you can see the Koala we found was awake. Which is a little surprising becasue they are a nocturnal animal and everyone I have met with pictures of a koala has pictures of a sleeping Koala. I guess it's shots like this that give people a false hope that they will find an active koala during the day.

This one may have had insomnia. It seemed to be alert and a little nervous of the three of us walking around underneath of it. He climbed higher after a little while.

It's easy to tell where there is a group of koalas in a gum forest because they eat the leaves off the trees and the trees all look like they are dying. Which of course they are.

-Gary Milner

Monday, January 02, 2006

Tasmanian Devil

We only saw one Tasmanian Devil the entire time we were in Tasmania. That turned out to be disappointing because after I got this photo I realized that it was actually Tracie Doing an impression of a tasmanian devil.

The tasmanian devil population is being attacked by a terrible disease that starts attacking their faces and eventually their whole body if they don't starve to death first.

Devil Facial Tumour Disease
is a term used to describe a fatal condition in Tasmanian devils which is characterised by the appearance of obvious facial cancers. The tumours or cancers are first noticed in and around the mouth as small lesions or lumps. These develop into large tumours around the face and neck and sometimes even in other parts of the body. Adults appear to be most affected by the disease - males the first affected, then females. Badly affected devils may have many cancers throughout the body.

As the cancers develop in affected devils, they may become emaciated, particularly if the tumours interfere with teeth and feeding. Many females lose their young. Affected animals appear to die within six months of the lesions first appearing.

-Gary Milner

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Great Ocean Road

We rented a car for three days to travel from Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road. This was one of two very spectacularly scenic spots.

It goes by the name, "The Twelve Apostles" It had a different name in days gone by some thing to do with animals. Maybe Sow and piglets, Hen and Chicks or whatever. I guess they figured that it was worth a more dignified name. That and they wanted to kill it with an overabundance of tourists.

For people from Calgary, imagine going to Lake Louise on the busiest day of the summer. Luckily there is no beach access, and so you can still get the exact same photo as the postcards just by dropping your camera on the ground.

That's how I got this photo actually. Don't worry the camera is fine, but Tracie is still limping.

-Gary Milner